Misophonia - Dealing With Noise Sensitivity & Anxiety:

Some sounds can be just plain irritating and annoying. Sounds such as the high pitch scream of a dentist's drill or someone drilling a hole in a wall can set you on edge and make you want to move away.

Yet with misophonia, which literally means 'the hatred of sound', that noise sensitivity can send you into a rage and fill you with overwhelming stress, anxiety and anger. And it will often be sounds such as chewing, eating and the repetitive clearing of a throat, that is enough to make certain situations unbearable.

With Christmas approaching, and the prospect of sufferers trying to cope with, or avoid, eating with others, misphonia has received some press coverage recently.

For example, only the other day, Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 was talking about it and the BBC carried this story: 'The crunch of an apple makes me want to run away' about one person's experience of misophonia. For this particular woman the sound of teeth breaking through the skin of an apple was enough to generate massive amounts of anxiety.

With misphonia, common trigger sounds cause an intense emotional response that can include anger and anxiety. Those certain trigger sounds can often be things like chewing, tapping, eating or other repetitive sounds. The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as 'a condition in which certain sounds cause a strong negative reaction in someone.'

And often those reactions can appear so extreme to non-sufferers that they struggle to understand the condition.

Whilst research is ongoing to understand the condition further, it is something that I've come across and helped people with in my practice.

I've helped people who have struggled in the exam room because in that relatively quiet environment, the sound of tapping and chewing and throat clearing and other triggers can be seemingly amplified. So much so that someone might even feel compelled to just walk out because of their anxiety and anger and their inability to concentrate in the exam.

I can also recall someone who could never sit with their family for a meal due to the noises of cutlery and chewing and other eating type noises being too overwhelming for them. Before we worked together, they had spent many years eating alone and making excuses not to be at the dinner table.

And I can also recall someone who experienced extreme anger towards a house mate who made a mouth clicking noise and who habitually cracked his knuckles.

By learning how to stay mentally calm and physically relaxed around those triggers, that sensitivity level and the associations with those sounds can be changed. And, in doing so, you can start to feel more relaxed and in control in those situations which would previously have led to anger and anxiety.

To your happiness and success,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket 

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