- Common sounds like coughing and sniffing can negatively affect one in five
- People with this condition are more likely to report anger or distress through sounds.
While sniffing, coughing, and sniffing are sounds that most of us barely notice, for others, those noises are enough to make you physically cringe.
Misophonia is a condition that causes a strong negative reaction to common sounds, from clearing your throat and cracking your knuckles to kissing as a couple.
And it’s more common than you might think: research suggests the condition affects up to a fifth of us.
Dr Jane Gregory, from Oxford University’s department of experimental psychology, said: ‘The experience of misophonia is more than simply being bothered by a sound.
‘Misophonia can cause feelings of helplessness and being trapped when people cannot escape an unpleasant sound.
Misophonia is a condition that causes a strong negative reaction to common sounds, from throat clearing and knuckle cracking to couples kissing (file image)
“People with misophonia often feel bad about themselves for reacting the way they do, especially when responding to sounds made by loved ones.”
Dr. Gregory has published a new book, Sounds like Misophonia, in which she explores what is behind this phenomenon and how to help those affected.
speaking to The GuardianHe said, “My goal is for people to actually experience some change as a result of the book.”
Dr. Gregory was inspired to write the book after she led a study in March that found mysophobia affects up to a fifth of us.
The study identified participants for whom the disease is a “burden” in their lives, although only those with an extreme problem would need counseling to help them.
The researchers used a questionnaire to judge the noise triggers, reactions and response intensity of 772 participants.
Scientists also identified warning signs of misophonia for those wondering if they have it.
The study, which covered 37 common noise triggers and 25 different reactions in its questionnaire, found that people without misophonia generally feel irritated by certain noises. But the reactions of people with misophonia are more intense and they are more likely to report distress, anger or panic (file image)
The conceptual image shows the causes of misophonia, which refers to being bothered by noises other people make, rather than actions.
They found that if a person is stressed while listening to normal breathing and swallowing, this indicates that they may have the condition, as these sounds do not bother the majority of the population.
Experts say people with misophonia often experience a fight-or-flight response to sounds, which can lead to anger and the need to escape.
Sounds may include people rustling, chewing gum, or sneezing, as well as noises such as ticking clocks and car engines.
The study, which covered 37 common noise triggers and 25 different reactions in its questionnaire, found that people without misophonia generally feel irritated by certain noises.
But the reactions of people with misophonia are more intense and they are more likely to report distress, anger or panic.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found that misophonia significantly affected 18.4 percent of people.
However, only 2.3 percent thought they had the disease and only 13.6 percent had heard of it.
The analysis showed that misophonia was equally common in men and women.
The average age of people with the condition was found to be 43 years.
Dr Silia Vitoratou, one of the authors from King’s College London, said the study showed that “most people with misophonia do not have a name to describe what they are experiencing”.
People with misophonia may have ‘supersensitized’ brain wiring, study finds
People who have an extreme reaction to certain noises, specifically chewing and breathing hard, may have a “supersensitized” brain connection, according to a 2021 study.
Scientists at Newcastle University discovered increased connectivity between the auditory cortex and motor control areas related to the face, mouth and throat in misophonia sufferers.
The findings suggest that misophonia is a “manifestation of activity in parts of the motor system involved in the production of those sounds,” according to the study published in the journal Neuroscience Magazine.
Scientists at Newcastle University discovered increased connectivity between the auditory cortex and motor control areas related to the face, mouth and throat in those with misophonia.
Misophonia has long been considered a sound processing disorder, but findings from Newcastle University suggest it is much more than that.