Kurt Vile, Head Banging and Misophonia

by | Mar 12, 2016 | Blog | 2 comments

Misophonia Blog

Could misophonia be ‘triggered’ by an event that occurs during childhood, such as a physical or emotional trauma, or is there no casual connection? 

For my birthday this year a friend bought us two tickets to see the fabulously named and fabulously talented Kurt Vile.

If you’re unfamiliar with his music, here’s a taster:

Before the gig, my partner and I met up in the Camden Head, a nearby pub. While we were there I went to use the bathroom but somehow managed to whack my head on the ceiling when I jogged back up the stairs.

It was an excruciating thud, but was in full view of the whole pub, so I stifled a yelp and pretended to check my watch (so as to appear breezy and nonchalant). However, it quickly dawned on me that I’d just banged my head in a pub called the ‘Camden Head’ which has an irresistible symmetry to it. So I walked back to our table clutching my head and laughing madly to myself.

After establishing that I wasn’t bleeding or delirious, my partner and I got talking about head injuries and then misophonia…

How and when does misophonia start?

Are some of us are predisposed to it? Does it lie dormant until some physical or emotional trauma during adolescence ‘flicks the switch’? Or would misophonia show itself, regardless, without any kind of prompting?

I think these are fascinating questions.

In my case, I did have an accident which involved my ear when I was 5 years old.

It happened when I was playing with my friend Zoe at my house. Zoe had huge blue eyes, a wonderfully calm aura and a mum with very short hair who used to make us fish fingers for tea.

One day we were playing in my brother’s room at the top of my house. I can’t remember why we were up there exactly – I expect my mum was entertaining downstairs and wanted us out of the way – but for two five year olds this was cause for great celebration. We didn’t normally get to play in my brother’s bedroom, a large room full of strange objects, and didn’t waste a moment.

After aimlessly running around in circles for a while we started playing tag. There were obstacles galore in the room and in a particularly deft and foolish manoeuvre to escape a tag I twisted my body, hurtled through the air… and landed ear-first into the corner of my brother’s metal bed frame.

I was a generally a quiet child and didn’t a fuss about scrapes or a scratches easily, but on this occasion I remember emitting a primal scream. This was a pain beyond comprehension. My right ear was throbbing and numb and all I could do was roll around on the floor clutching it, willing the pain to go away.

We spent 5 hours in Accident and Emergency at the Royal Free Hospital that day. Poor Zoe was beside herself with worry and confusion. Eventually, after shoving various looking glasses into my ear the doctor told my mum that I’d perforated my right ear drum. Luckily this would later heal without too much bother and with seemingly no hearing loss… but it was a major trauma at the time. I don’t remember too many events prior to the age of 7, but remember that one in high definition.

When I think back to my earliest misophonic experiences the timeline potentially synchs up. At the school our teachers would bring us a plate of raw carrot sticks while we waited for lunch to arrive (usually macaroni cheese). I have a hazy memory of being bewildered and put out by the crunching sound the other kids made when they ate these carrots. It’s not a particularly intense memory, but I certainly remember the carrots – an otherwise inane detail from my childhood.

So if future studies reveal that misophonia requires some sort of physical trauma to the head or ear injury to trigger or develop, then this would be mine.

But what about you?

Did you experience any kind of trauma, emotional or physical, at young age that could tie in with your earliest memories of misophonia? Do you think there could be a casual connection or do you think it’s coincidental? Please scroll down to share your experiences.

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  1. Christina Preston

    I have misophonia. It’s pretty bad. I had ear problems my whole life, and have always had an aversion to the sound of someone eating potato chips, popcorn, or the sound of a bag crinkling. It fills me with rage, and has prevented me from going to the movies. There are times in college that I could not study, and would leap from my chair in the library and flee. I could be derailed from teaching by the sound of a pen tapping. I recently lost the hearing in my left ear after surgery to remove scar tissue and repair my ear drum that had been damaged after a very long and serious infection. My misophonia has only worsened! I now hear the click of the ceiling fan, and other small unnoticeable noises…

  2. Patricia Chatburn

    Well,this is interesting.
    I can remember back to my teens,being stressed by various noises my father made.
    When I was about 14 or 15 I had a cycle accident.
    I cut my head open but in A&E they explained they couldn’t do a head x-ray as the relevant unit had shut for the night.
    (THis was in 1959 when they were more laid back about possible injuries)
    It could well be that this bang to my head triggered the misophonia .
    I hadn’t made the connection before!


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