The Big Reveal: Your Favourite Misophonia Coping Techniques

by | Mar 17, 2018 | Articles | 9 comments

How do you cope?

We all have different ways of dealing with our misophonia and we can all learn from one another’s experiences.

Below is a collection of your favourite misophonia coping techniques. These are tips that you’ve emailed in or posted on the forum or left on the site and are listed in no particular order. If I’ve missed anything please just drop me a line or leave a comment below.

“Some coping mechanisms I use as a college student include:

– Sitting in the front corners of classrooms to reduce visual triggers in my visual field.
– Having a safe, quiet place to retire to at the end of the day (single bedroom) and do homework without distraction or anxiety
– Playing music over auditory triggers
– Reducing other anxieties in my life which can exacerbate my reactions to triggers” Karen

“If it’s barking dogs, I have constructed removable window “plugs” in the windows facing where the dogs are. I only reinstall them when it get’s too annoying. They are made out of thin ply board stuffed with acoustic sound panels bought online. They are easy to put in and take out. I also have a sound insulated cushion that I ordered online to put over the front door which is also removable. I do love animals including dogs, it’s the owners that make me upset because they allow it and are not responsible.

Other than that I always have the stereo on, which is connected to my DirecTv or radio so that there’s always noise going on at all times.” Joe

“I usually try to leave the space/room by “going to the bathroom” or faking a phone call. If I’m stuck, like in a car, I pray I have headphones with me so I can listen to music. If not, I just try to breathe and tell myself that I will survive this.” Anita

“With my own family, I engage in a fair amount of mimicry, both vocally and with movement. (My husband in particular hates that I do this, but it’s a way for me to cope with my triggers). When faced with triggers at work and in other more public situations, I do a lot of internal screaming (“NO! NO! NO!”); I use headphones; and, when feasible, I walk away.” Sara

“Earplugs, headphones, fingers in ears or remove myself. Also avoiding being able to see the trigger.” David

“It’s my 12 year old son that has misophonia. He copes mainly by wearing headphones attached to his phone and he watches videos so that it also distracts him from seeing people eat as even if he cant hear people he can get triggered by no sound and seeing people eat. We try to be one step ahead and think about what may trigger him, ie a meal out or a bus ride, going to tea at a friends house etc. If he gets caught out he tends to take himself off to avoid the trigger, even if it means pretending he needs the bathroom.” Allison

“Listening to music, or what I often find more helpful than music is nature sounds e.g. birdsong, the ocean, rain, a crackling campfire etc. There are albums of them on Spotify. Looking at a picture of a calm blue ocean because the visual distraction helps me. I might actually make a folder of similar images (probably nature-based) to look at when I’m stressed.

Opening my desk drawer and just looking at the cover of your Misophonia Survival Guide! Because then I remind myself that I’m not the only one that suffers.” Clare

“My favorite coping mechanism is listening to music (loud ones like metal) and/or leaving the room with/without some kinda excuse.

Also I would try not to focus on things that require mind works, Cause it would drive me nuts. I would stop whatever I’m doing till the trigger (like someone eating sunflower seeds) ends… Which would take long enough to drive me nuts. So I would stop focusing or leave for something like a glass of water and come back soon (like taking a break from the trigger LOL). I will take longer breaks If the case is severe and I’m not needed.

My condition is worst because of the misokinesia. In that case I would block the visual trigger with something or turn away if possible.” Faranak

“I have the hardest time watching TV with my wife and kids. They love to discuss what they are watching, and the sound of them talking over the show triggers my misophonia like crazy – I feel like I’m going to explode. And that sucks, because it really would be nice to relax and watch a show together once in awhile. I used to ask them to pause to talk but then the show is broken into one-minute increments and that doesn’t work well either.

Anyhow, about a year ago we were watching Malcolm in The Middle and for whatever reason the closed captioning was on, and I realised I was fine, even though they were talking as usual. For some reason my brain happily focuses on the written words instead, and everything is cool.” Michael

“My go-to coping technique (when I react instinctively and not deliberately e.g. by leaving the room or reaching for my earbuds) is actually to hum a song. In the situations where I find myself humming it is very often through gritted teeth and, funnily enough, a theme song from a famous children’s show I watched as a child.

After realising this I also use the distraction-technique deliberately – so if you hear a slightly aggressive humming in a bus in Denmark, please come say hello … and distract me from somebody’s unwelcome noises ?” Anja

“My neighbours are always banging so if i am in the house on my own i always wear earplugs and it keeps me calm and relaxed.” Ian

“When we eat as a family I always insist on having the TV on to listen to the news or something that will cover any sound made while eating. Also the sound of people using mouthwash as in that commercial for a famous mouthwash whose name I can’t recall right now, fortunately, it is not currently running. Every time that commercial came on I would mute the TV, change channels or turn the TV off. I wonder if it is not currently running because they wanted a break or because too many people complained about the sound made by the actors using the mouthwash? To deal with the sound I usually like some outside noise to block out the sound.” Sam

“There are a couple of chronic whistlers in my office. Whenever one of them starts to whistle, I cough loudly. This does two things, it drowns out the whistling so I don’t hear it. And I think it maybe stopping them from whistling.” Kathleen

“The best way I cope with trigger sounds is by listening to music, for some reason the bagpipes work (and i’m Australian), however if i don’t have earphones I like to do the 3,7,2 breathing technique. 3 second deep breath, hold for 7 seconds and blow heavily for two seconds.” Danny

“I use these earplugs [Alpine Party Plugs] almost every day. They were purchased after someone (me) had a mental breakdown because 16,793 people decided to chew gum & eat apples & breathe noisily during a lecture. You can wear them in class/meetings/meals because they only block out background noise so it’s still possible to have conversations while wearing them. I usually wear them to bed, especially if I’m sharing a room with snorers. Mine are clear so they’re pretty discreet and they come in a nice, little case you can carry around. If someone next to you was eating chips, you would still hear it, but they do a pretty great job of blocking out smaller noises. I would highly recommend any variation of noise-canceling ear plugs like these.

Also, ALWAYS have music playing at dinner!!!” Claire

“My best coping strategy for my son’s sniffing during his seasonal allergies (seriously, he sniffs about every 5 seconds for weeks…) is to put in earplugs.

My husband and kids understand my issues with the sound and they don’t mind talking a little louder so I can hear them and the earplugs make the sniffing almost completely disappear. It was like a miracle when I discovered it. My other very useful one most others probably do, too. We almost always have music on when eating a meal.” Emily

“I usually use headphones or just end up leaving the room, but sometimes just leaning my head on the hand closer to the sound and subtly plugging my ear with that hand works. I’ve also found that creating characters with misophonia has helped me justify my experiences, and writing those characters as happy despite their misophonia has helped me maintain hope that I can be happy, too.

Be merciless in your justifications of your misophonia. Tell your loved ones that it’s a serious problem, and if they don’t believe you keep reminding them how serious it is. When I first told my parents they never realized how awful it was for me until I started walking away whenever they would eat. Your safety is important, and you should never be lenient with it.

Stay strong! Misophonia is exhausting, so take care of yourself, rest when you need to, and never let it ruin the things you love the most.” Callan

“Tell people to just STOP making that noise. Going somewhere else, away from the sound. Not going to certain events at all. Earplugs in when in bed. Earplugs in my bag for just in case. Putting music on whenever I can, but gentle piano music. Just instrumental music. Having a fan on. I love the sound of wind.

Have a lot of quiet time in the morning to go walking for 1-2 hours before I go home to work from home. Quiet time also means hours without a phone laptop and people. Just me! No TV in the house. Hate it! There is just such much nonsense on it.

Part-time job, and I am now in a phase that I only work from home when I feel rested and inspired and I am not planning on working at an office ever again. It is just not me, even without the misophonia, I don’t believe in that system.

Hiking, walking, running and doing Yoga; I need to move every day and be outdoors close to nature every day.

Sleep enough. Less to no alcohol and no more coffee. It agitates the body, mind and heart. It just creates more fire in my system and the sound triggers make me fiery enough ;)!

Meet people at home if possible or only in town if needed for just 1-2 hour max. and at a spot that I have chosen.
Sit with my back against the wall, so I can see what happens in front of me and I don’t have people bothering me behind my back.

Therapy. I believe in talking to someone on a regular basis who is trained to be compassionate.

Acupuncture: I believe in trying whatever wonderful techniques that are out there to see whether I can ease my body, mind and heart.

Explain to people what happens to me when it happens. I don’t care what they think. I just want to be safe and comfortable myself.

I read it in a book on misophonia. You can tell the amygdala in your brain the following whenever if fires to a triggering sound: “It is a sound. Not a threat. Thank you!”. You can see the Amygdala as a friend that gets scared too easily and you need to comfort it. Telling it a sound is not a threat, you basically reassure it and it quiets down.

Keep on trying. Find a cure that works for you. We are all different, even in our struggles with Misophonia.” Marianne

“Music! Putting in headphones takes the pain away and calms me down a lot. Always bring earbuds with you.

I worry a lot about things and I’m really trying to stop worrying because it doesn’t make me feel very happy (obviously). So when I’m worrying I always think of this quote from the movie Fantastic beasts and where to find them: In my philosophy, worrying means that you suffer twice. Just thinking about this quote really helps me and maybe it helps some of you as well!

Not everyone has misophonia! A big problem I have is that I think that whenever I make a sound everyone is going to be annoyed because they notice it. But not everyone notices it when you eat something or cough. I get really anxious when I have to eat/drink something in public because I’m scared I’ll make a sound. This causes me to have trouble swallowing which I find really scary and annoying.” Claire

“Turning the television on while having dinner. Earbuds!!!! Wearing hoodies really helps me because when I’m triggered I can just put in my earbuds and put the cap (is that what it’s called?) over my head. Casually covering my ear with, for example, my knee or my hand/ hands.

Always bring earbuds with you.” Ayla

“Listening to the sounds of rain and thunder (you can download these online) helps distract any of my trigger noises. Listening to music. Moving myself away from the trigger sound to give myself some headspace.

There are ways to deal with it, and you are not the only person in the world who is suffering! It gave me so much more peace of mind.

I try to relax or take deep breathes to relax myself but that does not really work. Head phones work the best for me and I sleep with a fan on cause it drowns out a lot of noises and I can relax. I do turn a fan on at work sometimes as well to drowned out the sound.

One interesting experience is when I went to see a therapist once about this (she did not even know about misophonia), she tried eating chips in front of me but that did not actually bother me so much. I told her I thought it did no bother me cause she was trying to help me in the sense and I knew that so it did not bother me. My focus also was not on something else or trying to relax. I was trying to improve my well being.

Noises bother me almost all the time, but if I tend to be more stressed out or in a rush, the sounds bother me even more and I cannot concentrate.” Rhia

“When hearing trigger sounds I try to leave the room. I also put earphones in all the time.

I heard that when people are chewing gum it’s helpful to also chew gum as if you’re mocking them and that was honestly pretty helpful.

I know it’s hard when people don’t understand what you’re going through and it’s disappointing seeing the lack of treatment, however more and more things are being discovered about misophonia so don’t give up. Remember that you’re not the person misophonia makes you be when you hear triggers.” Zofia

“Whenever I get triggered, I usually leave the room or put in earphones with the music turned up. If I can’t leave, sometimes I politely ask the person to stop, I remind myself that I’m being irrational (but honestly, that doesn’t help), or I make another sound to distract me from it; for example, when people are excessively clicking their pens in class, I repeatedly tap my fingers against my thigh and focus on that. For snoring, I’ve gotten myself a pair of earplugs that work about half of the time. Sometimes I pray about it.

To remember it is not my fault (our faults) that I react this way. The people you get angry at for making sounds usually aren’t doing it on purpose, and I’m sure you know that, but try to remember that anytime you’re about to explode with rage. Remembering that has calmed me down sometimes and has prevented many arguments.” Monique

“Fidget toys/attention aids – they’re ace. Remember to focus on them and not just play with them. Spinners, cubes, spinning tops, gravity bars, Chinese balls, coins, colouring books, crappy games on your phone.

White noise generating Apps – not always tangible in social circumstances but really distracts. In ear white noise generators – Helps to immerse in sound without listening/hearing annoying sounds.

And playing inordinate tones through my harmonica. Sometime when sounds are reaching the point of eruption, I get out my harmonica and just blow through it. People stop what they’re doing, look at me, don’t really know what just happened and tend to stop the annoyance. A friend of mine shouts “Danke shoen” wicked loud and has the same effect.

You’re not a mentalist. Thousands of people around the globe are suffering with the same thing. Remember though, the people making the hated noises aren’t doing it to wind you up. They don’t know it winds you up and why would they!” Zed

“I read an article once that talked about submitting someone to the things that bother them to desensitize them (you know like forcing someone in an elevator over and over until they are not afraid). I became a teacher (middle school because I can NOT do boogers or snot), knowing I would be triggered constantly. I figured this would be my therapy. Has it worked you ask? Well not really, I think I may be a bit more “tolerant” if repetitious noises, maybe, but I still have that look and my kids no… they better knock it off! Other then that, I have just trained my family very well over the years.

Breath (like I’m doing right now). Take a step back and remove yourself from the situation if possible. Get somewhere quiet when triggered and don’t be afraid to tell people what bothers you, if you don’t, how will they stop doing it?

Don’t let this make you not be able to operate with the outside world! FIGHT! Control it, don’t let it control you (ok ok it totally controls me, but I still fight against it everyday)!” Mandi

“As far as coping is concerned, I don’t really have anything other than to stay away from it. I will leave the room, leave the store, go outside, etc. Whatever I can do to run away from the noise.

I have learned to cope with being by myself a lot. I have friends, but I live alone, no neighbors, in an isolated house. Being by myself, and having hobbies that I can do alone, has taught me to appreciate the work I do, because I alone do the work. If my (fill in the blank) project/hobby fails, it’s my fault. If my project/hobby is a success, then I get the good feeling. So, seeing others that work alone in life has made me appreciate their works even more.

That I’m not alone. I thought for 46 years that I was the only one with this. I blamed other people for popping gum at me, or purposely having their dogs bark at me. I still have those rage moments where I blame the other person for purposely making that trigger sound, but the blame game that I play is very slowly fading away. I see now that there are people all over the world who have this and I feel better knowing that.

You’re not alone! Wow! So many years went by believing that my hatred of gum popping, etc., was only me. I hope and pray that every person with misophonia tells others so they will be educated.” Theodore

“I constantly would have to leave the room when I hear a trigger sound, or I would cover my ears. Go outside to cool down when my trigger sounds are irritating me. Never give up the fight with Misophonia, it will be tough, but the trigger sound is temporary.” Jessica

“If I hear bad grammar or incorrect pronunciation I have to mimic the correct word out loud to myself several times. If someone says “bruver” I have to keep saying “brother” and esenuate the “th”.
I walk out of the room for a few minutes to calm myself.

I practice The Havening Technique when I am having a bad time.

I listen to hypnosis relaxation on YouTube.

I tell my family how I’m feeling and ask them to be careful which makes dinner a bit more relaxing. Voicing it to them seems to minimilise it.

I drink too much alcohol to try and cope with it but I don’t obviously recommend this as it just makes things worse.

I give everyone spoons wherever possible.

When someone opens a sweet I politely offer to put the wrapper in the bin so that they can’t fiddle with it.

I turn off the tv or radio when I hear unwanted “noise”.

I try and relax by walking and drinking water.

I pray.

I cry in frustration.

I make as much quiet “me” time as possible. NO TVs in bedroom!

I book restaurants early so it’s not too busy.

I use earplugs and iPod on transport.

I make excuses not to go to the cinema.

To practise Mindfulness and the Havening technique. (CBT And EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) did not work for me). Learning that I am not alone in this and that it is not about being an irritable and sensitive person – it is an illness.

I always felt my problem was due to an overstrict upbringing and that my reaction to noise was a form of anxiety. I also wonder if there a link with autism? I have an open mind now and am very interested in learning more about it. I wish all my fellow suffers the strength and courage to face each day.” Susie

“I cannot live without a charged phone and headphones. Spotify is my best friend at times, and I listen on full blast when I am affected. I can listen to podcasts (though I always skip the intro to RadioLab to avoid the throat clear) and music at a normal level in public transit as long as there isn’t anyone directly next to me making any of my trigger sounds.

I watch tv with dinner. At one point, I put in earplugs at a family event. Though it didn’t totally mute the sounds, it was helpful, and I didn’t look like I was rudely ignoring folks with headphones. As long as I didn’t have to talk much, I was in the clear.

You are not alone. You are heard. You are not a freak. One day, we will be better recognized, and we will have a better solution.” Alexandra

“So I hate to do it but I leave the room if I have to. I’ve learnt to cope with loud eating in that everybody eats! It’s a way of life so I have to reason with myself haha! I find I often eat if somebody else is eating or copy them so I find it less annoying? Like tapping my pen or chewing gum if they are. I also just scratch my hand in my pocket or something to try and distract myself.

Just to remind myself that people make noise!! There’s nothing they can do, I make noise that I’m sure annoys others so I try to just smile and nod till they finish.

Just remember you’re not alone!! And don’t be afraid to ask people to quieten a bit. It’s becoming increasingly more common and people do understand that you get annoyed at things!” Eloise

“Music is the biggest one. At the dinner table, we usually have music playing in the background and that really helps cover up the sounds of eating. I also usually have a chapstick or something small in my pocket that I can fidget with. I pretty much just try to distract myself.

It’s not anyone’s fault, including my own. When someone is chewing loudly I tend to kind of villainize them and just think about how they’re the worst person in the world and that they’re trying to ruin my life. But honestly – and unfortunately – eating sounds are part of life. So it’s just helpful to remember that smacking doesn’t make someone an awful person (just annoying).

If you haven’t, you should look at the research done on misophonia! It’s actually really reassuring to know that misophonia has to do with uncontrollable responses in the brain, and it’s not just us being dramatic or annoying like people think.” Claire

“Headphones are a absolute life saver. Also leaving the room and go to the washroom and staying in there for five minutes. If there isn’t a full meal going on, they will most likely be done eating by the time you come back.

Don’t be embarrassed about having misophonia, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” Deborah

“Headphones! Music! Loud music. Things to block out the trigger noise and to mitigate the way the sounds ruminate in my mind even if the trigger is gone.

Don’t fall into feeling alone. Honestly just hang in there.” Abby

“Headphones, especially with music with loud drumming as it drowns things out better. Having background noise is useful.

Mimicking what they are doing, not necessarily exactly the same as that raises many questions. Eat at the same time as everyone else.

Sleep well, it’s not as bad when rested.

Take a break from things if it’s getting too much instead of letting it build up where possible.

Eat and drink enough, take care of yourself and it’s easier to cope with.

Suck it up and deal with it because life will move on with or without you.” Cara

“Great music… headphones a lot. Ear plugs. Singing out loud. Dancing to music.

Moving out of the sound range for sure if possible.

To understand it rather than fear it.” Elaine

“I try and cope with Misophonia by singing, reading or knitting. Counting stitches can be really good. A long walk can do wonders.

The single piece of advice I’ve learned is that I’m not alone.” Susan

“Aside from the meds I take to relieve my sensory overload, I have gained a bit of peace through an advanced form of yogic breathing. I also wear noise cancelling headphones and use ear plugs, and carry those with me along with my medical supplies.

To avoid smelling what I’d rather not smell, I usually carry a handkerchief with a small amount of neroli on it to block out the smell of whatever it might be.

Know yourself and prepare according to this knowledge.” Tory

“Learn as much as you can this stuff, particularly the brain – and the amygdala. Being conscious of the neurological and physiological processes that occur during an episode can massively help reframe the negative emotions. I’d even go so far as to say that questioning the nature of these negative emotions in the first place really helps.

Put on background noise during meals. My partner and I often eat with the TV or background music on. This helps numb/confuse/quieten the triggers significantly.

Have an escape route! If it’s all too much, just leave the room temporarily. Don’t be a hero. Saying you need to go to the bathroom and nipping out for a few minutes is the easiest thing in the world. It’s quick, it doesn’t offend anyone and gives you instant relief.

De-stress. This is key. Stress makes misophonia a hundred times worse, so be in tune with your stress levels, realise this will affect your sound tolerance and adapt accordingly. There are lots of things you can do to lower your stress levels. I find sleep, gardening and long walks help.

Earphones. These make public transport, with it’s myriad of triggers, a doddle.

You’re not alone.

Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Every single person you meet has a world in their head that’s as important and exciting and terrifying and wonderful and frustrating as yours. The sounds we notice and pick up as misophones are not unusual, they’re normal and the people making them aren’t doing anything wrong. We just have a heightened sensitivity to them.

If you can get your head round the fact that the people making trigger sounds are not the enemy, and focus on you instead, misophonia will stop ruling you. It’ll just become something you have and that you work with, rather than something that owns you.” Tom, Editor

“If it’s very intense I leave a scenario. I get so inwardly frustrated I may implode before I get a chance to explode.

I notice I shake my leg as a habit in situations I am trying to cope with, to the point I get on other peoples nerves. When people are eating, I will stick fingers in my ear, hum a tune out loud and sing a song in my head, I will also avert my gaze from the person who is making the noises directions.

I also cope by glaring at people making the noises, whilst they are not looking. This has not yet produced a successful solution.

Like Kat I try to have mindfulness but I even struggle with the sounds of children eating. And who is more innocent? I am currently finding this very amusing to admit these things out loud as I seem altogether ridiculous and unforgiving.” Laura

“Hey, I am not sure how useful this will be to other people but I figured I would contribute it anyway.

I have to say that I am new to this and am not sure if it is better or worse in the long run to use many of the coping mechanisms that I use, but I do have one more that is not up here yet.

Mimicking the noise being made, e.g. Also eating chips if they are or tapping on the table or even your leg where it can’t be heard, can make a significant difference sometimes. I hope this helps.” Cara

“I’m a senior in high school and often find myself dealing with other students eating in classes around me. Just today I had the boy sitting next to me chew gum with his mouth slightly open while the kid on my other side ate an orange.

My mom and I decided to invest in one small ear plugs from surefire, a firearm protection company. They muffle small noise that is occurring around me but make it so I can still hear conversation, and take notes. It’s only slightly visible but most people assume I have hearing problems and that they are hearing aids. It’s a great coping mechanism that only cost 15 dollars.” Sydney

“One of my triggers is people whispering. If I hear that, I have to hold myself back from doing any violence. But I think I’ve found something that helps. I sort of sing a song in my head and concentrate fully on that song. That helps me to not concentrating on the whispering anymore. I hope it helps someone else too.” Anne-fleur

“When I first started experiencing Misophonia, I would flip out and leave the room. This typically only happens at work. There are a few VERY loud keyers that I cannot stand. Gradually, I realized that leaving the room would decreased my productivity, so I began to search deeper in my brain. I’ve tried a lot of things. I’ve tried saying “no” in my head, like “no, no, no” and “focus, focus.” I’ve tried ear plugs AND earphones. I am now trying Buspirone to see if it will treat the fight or flight I feel when I hear this particularly terrifying sound, since it is used to treat anxiety. So far I am able to tolerate it a tad bit more than I could before.

Over all, I try staying completely engrossed in whatever it is I am doing to avoid the distraction and fleeing. That is all I have for a tip. Misophonia is just – I hate it, as everyone else who has it surely does.” Equator

“Does anyone have any tips for coping with visual triggers? People shaking their legs, blinking, unusua mouth movements are all triggers for me. Mimicking is almost a necessity when I see these things, I spend my life with my head in the corner of rooms or with my hair/hands blocking my peripheral vision. Having to blind and deafen yourself with earphones and white noise 24/7 is driving me crazy. Its very isolating.” Emma

“I don’t know if anyone else has a problem with certain people’s voices but I sure do. I absolutely can’t stand my co-worker’s voice and I have a very visceral reaction to it. I was almost having panic attacks at work whenever I’d hear her and naturally she talks all day long. I started keeping my door shut but I could still hear her through the wall. I invested $20 in a white noise machine and I set it on ocean sounds. I keep the volume fairly high and it drowns her out about 90%. I know everyone around me thinks I’m being antisocial with my door shut all day, but trust me, it’s keeping me from killing someone.” Julie

“One of my worst triggers is chewing, but in a weird way. When most people (at least in my family) chew, their tongue sort of snaps on the top of their mouth, creating the worst sound ever. So, when they eat harder foods, it drains out that sound because of the crunch. The thing I do to cope with this, even though it sounds weird, is trying to chew louder than them to drain it out. I have many other trigger sounds, but I unfortunately haven’t found any other ways of coping with them.” Hayley

“… my tips are to purchase ear defenders which block out noise. You can also purchase toys that have rubber spikes on them so if you’re angry, you can pull the spikes out.” S.W

“The only thing that helps me is to have music (best solution) or some other background noise going on to focus on. I don’t have any problems in a loud environment, but dear God don’t let someone be eating loudly around me if it is quiet!!!” Jon

“For me, there’s something about being in a public situation that somehow I manage to keep myself together. It’s still SOOO hard, though, so in public situations, here’s what helps. Oh, and my trigger sounds are eating, slurping, swallowing, and in general all slurp-ish sounds made when talking. When someone’s eating and they offer some to me or I have my own snack, eating also masks and helps (me, at least, but I hope it helps you, too)! If they don’t offer and I don’t have food, discreetly covering the ear closest to them helps a little. I try to pour the frustration into a fist clench, so maybe a stress ball would help (I’m trying to get one of those).

I went to an audiologist and am currently trying out hearing aids. Unlike most stories, they’re actually NOT helping me right now. I’ve only had them for a few weeks, and misophonia is a neurological issue (which might take a long time to fix), but the fact is that I haven’t noticed any improvement whatsoever.

My audiologist suggested a new thing for me, and I want to pass it onto you because HEARING AIDS ARE VERY EXPENSIVE AND THERE MIGHT BE A BETTER, MORE AFFORDABLE SOLUTION!!! If you have an app that lets you buy music (I’m going to use Spotify premium because it has such a wide selection and I don’t have an apple product), and you’re able to buy wireless earbuds (I’m looking for those right now), it’s a kind of therapy that you can do on your own.

1. Make a playlist of the kind of sounds/music that makes you SUPER happy. You FAVORITE favorite music.
2. Listen to your music twenty minutes before and during a trigger situation (for me, meals, or even really going out in general).

The science behind this therapy is that your favorite music playing at the same time as your trigger sounds are supposed to confuse your brain and tell it that trigger sounds are neutral, and hopefully someday normal and fine. The hardest part about this therapy is finding the right earbud.

There is at least a temporary alternative that also helped me with distraction issues. Resound Relief. It’s basically an app that has the same kinds of calming sounds on it that a hearing aid has, so you can still have access to the sounds of a hearing aid without the insane cost of the actual device. It’s helped me immediately with focusing as well as calmed me down! Really try to explore the app, because it has all sorts of downloadable sounds, and there’s a spot where you can make your own sounds based on the songs and sounds they provide. I DEFINITELY recommend it! Oh, and it’s FREE! It’s amazing.

I REALLY hope this could help you in some way! It’s amazing to think that you’re still persevering, even though misophonia feels like people repeatedly punching you in the face and expecting you to function like a normal human being. I’m also praying that God will heal us, or help us deal with misophonia. Thank you for listening to my random thoughts! I hope it helps! God bless!” Beth

“Hi, I have had this condition for 40 years. I tolerate eating with people better if I eat in our kitchen with the cooker hood fan on. White noise seems to keep me calmer. I prefer to eat out in busy restaurants as the background noise also distracts my attention from noise at the dinner table. Trips to the cinema are rare but I sit on the back row with my own popcorn. This way no one is annoying behind me and I can eat popcorn to distract me from other noise in front of me. Hope these tips help someone.” Jo

“I have to leave the situation.. I’ll get up and go to the bathroom or get a drink or something if I can… but sometimes I’ll be in a meeting and someone will be eating breakfast or lunch or a snack (yes I work in a company where that’s normal) and that is altogether insanely frustrating. The stress in those situations is unbearable, regardless of mindfulness or breathing or anything.

In that scenario I actually start sweating with anger/frustration and I just try to rush the meeting as much as possible to get out early, or else I’ll excuse myself as if I have a meeting clash. It sucks but I’d ruin my professional relationships if I lashed out verbally!!

I’ve yet to find something to control it. My girlfriend knows my ticks and if they happen we both laugh at my frustration, she sometimes does things (like brushing teeth & talking to me) deliberately to tease, and that’s helped a little I guess in making it more playful! I think if more people knew about this issue they would be more conscious of what they do around others!” Daniel

“To those who are talking about earplugs, I can say it is not a very healthy thing to have. For two years I had earplugs and as life went on my condition began to worsen till I was freaking out constantly. Just like noise cancelling headphones, and other devices that are made to quiet noise, eventually your ears will grow accustom to the device and those noises will return. I can not say how you will react, but be wary.” Jamie

“I have recently quit caffeine and the effect on my noise sensitivity has been so pronounced I felt I should write. It is like someone turned down the volume (more like muffled it really).

My wife has confirmed that the noises that had previously been raging me (construction, motorbikes etc..) are now… well… not!!

They still annoy me but not to the level of explosion the did before.”

Have I missed anything here? Please leave a comment below or contact me at the usual email address.

You can also see our original article on misophonia coping techniques here.

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  1. Julie M

    For all those who rely on earplugs or headphones, I find that ambient sounds like the ocean, rain and thunder, and cats purring are very effective at blocking out trigger sounds while still allowing me to hear what’s going on around me. I have an mp3 player that I use so often at work that the battery depletes pretty frequently, so while I’m charging it, I can listen on my computer to (purring internet cat), Simply Rain ( or SeaSalt Radio (ocean). The first two websites allow you to make various adjustments to the quality of the sound. Lifesaving!

  2. Suus

    Hi when I cant get away from the trigger I make sure I always have with me a babychewing toy so I can chew on it really hard to release some of the tension. In some situations you cant do that so I also have a hand massage ball, its a plastic ball you can squeeze and it has little soft spikes on it, so then I squeeze it hard and focus on that feeling.

  3. Jamie Hildreth

    I can’t remember if I sent you my story. I don’t think I did. If you send me the questionnaire, I’d be glad to do so.
    Thanks, Jamie from Sonoma Ca.

  4. Ruby

    Music is my best coping method, but sometimes, if it gets bad, I just like to sit and pick apart the music (focusing on bass, percussion, etc.). It helps me take my mind off other sounds for a little bit.

  5. Adrian

    I only recently discovered that this is an actual thing. i still have some coping techniques though. The worst part of my misophonia and misokinesia is the looping. Even after the noises and grimaces other people make go away my brain keeps looping them over and over, like I’m being forced to watch a .gif. The visual triggers are the worst. Once they start they often won’t go away and they can pop up even when I’m far removed from them physically. I’m never safe. I get so angry and I already have anger management issues. So I cope by slapping myself in the face repeatedly. After a while I’m so exhausted and in so much pain that it takes the focus away from the bad thoughts and then it fades. Not so constructive, I know. I don’t really reccommend it. Drinking helps too, I’ve noticed, but I don’t do that much. “Going to the bathroom” is my favourite technique otherwise, but if the looping starts that’s a double-edged sword since I’m then in a lonely space where hitting myself is socially acceptable. I’ve tried to talk to people but nobody listens. It’s like their rights to make faces and sounds (it’s never “natural” annoying sounds that get to me – ONLY forced ones, like imitating an annoying person or making an especially ugly face) is more important than my – let’s be honest – safety. I even put up with other unneccessary annoying things like watching TV, listening to the radio and watching YouTube all at once, because that’s at least normal. I hate myself so much. I can’t STAND having those horrible, disgusting images and sounds going through my head all the time and i can’t escape it. Sometimes music or cat videos help – positive visual and audial stimulation – but other times it’s impossible to cope without self-harm. if you’re going to resort to that (DON’T!), aim for big muscles like the buttocks or thighs where the worst thing you can get is a bruise (it doesn’t take much pain to lift the curse) but don’t hit your head like I do. it messes you up.

  6. Lulu

    I use sound-reducing ear plugs to go to the movies. My misophonia has gotten so bad, going to the movies (a past-time I once very much enjoyed) has become a source of overwhelming stress (one of my biggest ‘triggers’ is the sound of plastic bags). I’ve left theatres literally crying in a distraught state. The ear plugs work to block out the surface sounds while the film is loud enough to still be heard. It’s allowed me to see movies again (though still quite rare).

  7. PP

    Oh gosh. This is a terrible thing. I suffer from this since my 20s, I think. My dad was my first trigger. And, I think, I made noises he didn’t like too. What an irony, eh? But since I started to work with five more people in one small office, it just got worse. Most of them make very irritating noises. The two worst are: sniffing and clicking. One person is sniffing very often- I think it is more like nervous tic. And the other one is cliking tongue while eating and after eating up to 5 times a day. It is probably a new habit for life. That’s terrible. I wear earphones most of the time or leave room, when I can. Sometimes I have to listen to the music so loud that I cannot hear people, who talk to me. I know, it is not nice, but I cannot do anything about it except starting to scream. One day I said to my manager about this and she started to make a noise too. People just think, this is not serious and they don’t care. That’s why I do not speak about it officialy because I am afraid of exclusion and total misunderstanding…
    Anyway, I hate earplugs. I feel unaturally while wearing them so I only wear earphones.

  8. Maurizio

    I’m triggered mainly by my mum’s and my partner’s breathing and eating sounds, and my colleague at work clearing his throat.

    To cope with my mum’s noises, I left the country! (Might’ve been a coincidence as I always wanted to leave my country) But when I do go back to visit, she still triggers me.

    With my partner, I try to tell him when he’s breathing too loudly or put on the TV or music on in the car to mask the noises. He still doesn’t understand me, he gets mad when I tell him his breathing is bothering me and I’m usually scared of saying anything because I don’t think it’s fair on him. Eating is more manageable with my partner, I think he started making an effort there, but my mum’s eating makes me want to throw everything to the floor and scream my lungs away.

    My partner chewing gum also drives me mad, we’ve had many fights about it because I stop talking to him when he’s doing it or look away. Even if he’s not making any noises, seeing him do it or even thinking about him doing it makes me very upset. He’s convinced you should chew on gum after eating, because it cleans your mouth, so we agreed that he would do it for 5 minutes and then throw it away – which I guess is a good compromise.

    There was a time when I was a kid when my mum would trigger me when she put on platform shoes that made a very noticeable sound against the house’s wooden floor. She also would wear lots of thin bracelets in one wrist and they made a very high pitch noise that made me want to kill myself. I remember screaming on a pillow to release the anger. I used to always leave my house when she was there or lock myself in my room and listen to music or TV. We rarely ate together because I love her, but the noises made me want to hurt her and that scared me.

    With my colleague at work is easier because the office is quite big and we have hot desks everywhere so I just move around, but I also wear noise-cancelling headphones. He clears his throat every two seconds, and it’s quite loud. I noticed it a few months into the new job, I thought he was sick, but it’s now been 4 months and he still does it. There was a guy at a previous job who triggered me by using his keyboard cos he would bang on the keys every time he used it – I left that job, and while he wasn’t the main reason why I left, as I was being interviewed for my new job, I was anxious and excited about leaving and never seeing him again!

    People normally come to my office at 10am, at that time the office is uncomfortably loud and it drives me insane. So I started coming in at 8am to have 2 hours of peaceful quietness and when it gets loud, I put on my noise-cancelling headphones. Fortunately, no one’s complained about it, as it looks like I don’t want to be social or that I hate my colleagues, which is not really the case with most of them.

  9. MG

    I recently broke up with someone because he triggered so many visual and audio annoyances that I couldn’t deal with it. I really felt that something was really wrong with me so I started to Google the symptoms and discovered, like most of you that there were 2 conditions that aligned with my many years of grievances and the inability to let things go. Crushing a plastic bottle, whistling, loud crunching, spinning a cell phone around, clicking a pen, cell phone notices, foot tapping or fidgeting, neck or shoulder cracking, excessive pointing and the list goes on. He unfortunately encompassed everything on the list to the point where I thought I was going to explode. I had to always ask that he stop tapping or whistling or whatever he was doing. This of course didn’t sound sane and when you ask continuously then you are not always nice about it. I can handle almost anything, but why not the smallest sounds and visuals. It plays on my mind like a jagger, fuelling intense annoyance, agitation and anger. Is there a solution? Has anyone undergone any type of therapy?


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