Misophonia

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Misophonia Treatments

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavior therapy (cognitive therapy, or CBT) is used commonly in psychiatric practice to help individuals change the way they think (called "cognitive restructuring") and behave in certain situations. Cognitive behavior therapy is a widely accepted therapy that can be used to treat any uncomfortable or destructive habit or practice. It is commonly used to treat addictions, eating disorders, mood swings, stress, relationship difficulties, insomnia, anger, and other conditions.

Misophonia facts

  • Misophonia is defined as severely negative reactions to sounds that have a specific pattern, meaning, and context to the sufferer based on previous experiences.
  • Other forms of sound sensitivity include hyperacusis (a negative reaction to sound due to particular physical characteristics, like volume, type, and intensity) and phonophobia (a fear of certain sounds).
  • Some research indicates that misophonia may be quite common, occurring in about 20% of the population.
  • While there is no known single cause for misophonia, some theories in that regard include specific problems with the way the central nervous system works or developing an emotional association between a normal, potentially irritating noise to an aversive physical reaction (conditioned response).
  • Risk factors for misophonia include having a mental disorder or another hearing disorder. Prepubescent girls tend to develop the disorder more often than other groups.
  • There are numerous potential triggers for misophonia, to which the sufferer may react to with emotions such as fear, irritation, or anger. This quickly escalates to an extreme level that is clearly out of proportion to the trigger, and the sufferer usually believes their response is uncontrollable.
  • In order to assess whether misophonia is present, health-care professionals will explore whether the symptoms are the result of a medical problem, reaction to a medication, or other substance and seek to rule out mental disorders or other hearing disorders.
  • Some of the approaches that tend to be used to treat misophonia include tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), cognitive behavioral therapy, adding background noise to the person's environment, and deconditioning the sufferer to their negative reactions.
  • Medication is not usually used to treat misophonia.
  • Complications of misophonia include the sufferer developing problems with their relationships, school, or employment.
  • With treatment, more than 80% of misophonia sufferers can experience significant relief from symptoms.
  • Prevention of misophonia usually focuses on trying to prevent complications of this disorder.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/6/2016

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