Discover coping strategies and support for Misophonia in Naperville

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds that can result in distraction, pain, and adverse reactions. This disability can limit the individual’s ability to concentrate, think, learn, and interact with others.

When a Misophonia person hears a trigger sound, they have an extreme and uncontrollable reaction, often of anger and disgust. They have an unrealistic powerful need to stop the sounds. It leads to frustration, anger, and sometimes rage. Emotions are built up and do not have a release mechanism. Rage, fury, frustration, and inability to cope are built up to an explosion point. These reactions are NOT volitional – the person with the Misophonia can truly not control these extreme reactions.

What Causes Misophonia?

We are unsure of what causes Misophonia. Research has found that about 40% of people with Misophonia, have a relative with similar sound sensitivities. Some studies have also indicated a link between Misophonia and vitamin deficiency however there is not enough research done to correlate a direct link. 

Misophonia often follows a trigger sound. Trigger sounds are sounds that cause distraction, pain and/or an adverse reaction. Trigger sounds are not the same for every person with Misophonia. The most common triggers are mouth sounds like chewing and heavy breathing. Sometimes only certain people will trigger the individuals. For example, the individual cannot eat dinner with their younger sibling, but they can eat with their friend.

Can you outgrow Misophonia?

Our experience indicates that people do not outgrow Misophonia. At best, we see that individuals learn how to make accommodations for it like finding professions that allow them to work in areas with few triggers. Unfortunately, we often see individuals that have to isolate themselves for extended periods of time to avoid triggers.

Does exposure therapy work?

Exposure therapy does not work. It may work for other sensitivities often treated by psychologists or occupational therapists, but it only creates pain and anguish for the Misophonia sufferer with no benefit.

Do ear plugs or earphones help?

Misophonia ear plugs and earphones, while sometimes giving temporary relief, create more harm than good. The brain realizes when sound is reduced and, if reduced for long periods of time, tries to increase the volume within the brain. We call this central gain. The perception of loudness becomes distorted. The brain becomes used to softer volumes all around and then normal sounds heard without hearing protection are perceived as too loud. The brain, always on the lookout for the trigger sounds, kicks into overdrive, creating a situation in which a person will unconsciously search more intently and become even more sensitive to trigger sounds.

Misophonia Treatment in Naperville

Treatment for Misophonia uses a three-pronged approach: 

Reduce the impact of the trigger using sound generation with devices which do not most often occlude the ear canal. Sound generators can have both white noise generated within the devices as well as fractal tones which can help the brain to relax. Most devices all for streaming.

Learn to control the brain’s focus and start to rethink the meaning and impact of the sounds and create new neuronal connections. (Made # 3 # 2 and wrote a different #3)

Seek a wholistic approach to help manage anticipatory anxiety and work on techniques that are multi-sensory and can help better manage challenging environments.

Misophonia therapy can be a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which can be of great value. It can help patients rethink the sounds and how they can react to them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is best when used in conjunction with sound therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy does not dispense sound generators which can help reduce the impact of the trigger sounds. Sometimes counseling is recommended for the individual and their family due to the disruption Misophonia can cause within the family. Why does one child get to listen to music at the table when the others don’t? Why is one child perceived as special and pushes around siblings or gets “special treatment?” An specialized audiologist trained in Misophonia, can help families address ways to modify their environment and can work closely with a psychologist or social worker that the individual or family is seeing to help with family dynamics or other special needs of a patient in this regard. We take a team approach with other health professionals when necessary (i.e occupational therapist or functional neurologist). 

How to Cure Misophonia

As of yet, we do not have a Misophonia “cure” but we have good ways to work with individuals and their families to help manage the situations that individuals encounter day to day. Studies continue to expand but there are none showing a definitive answer. People with Misophonia have been told in the past that, “Misophonia is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. We will help you learn to live with it.” However, audiologists and other specialists in clinics across the country have patients that report improved quality of life when working with a specialist such as an audiologist, obtaining on-ear sound generators and doing talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. This is not a guaranteed outcome but if you are motivated to improve the quality of life related to misophonia, it is our goal and we will work closely with you and your family/significant others.

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