Reply To: How to Tell a Loved One They’re Affecting You?

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Hi Jenn, thanks for your post.

I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through with this and I think it’s really helpful to hear your perspective. It’s often no fun at all for the partner and given your own history it must be especially difficult and upsetting at times.

A number of miopshones who’ve got in touch with me my via this site are metallers, so it doesn’t surprise me that he likes listening to metal!

I know it must seem illogical/weird/contradictory that he likes loud or complex and sometimes discordant music but with misophonia it’s not sound or noise in general that’s the problem (in fact most of us love music). Misophonia is a selective sound sensitivity.

So it’s very specific sounds which trigger us. Whether it’s a certain timbre/pitch/tone/frequency we don’t know for sure yet (there are studies going into this).

What we do seem to know is which part of the brain is activated. Neuroscientists have conducted fMRI studies and during misophonia episodes (i.e. when trigger sounds are heard) they’re seeing that the amygdala lights up and it sets off freeze-fight-flight mode. A bit like if we were under threat from attack or in danger.

So (and apologises if I’m droning on) you have this primordial part of the brain screaming RED ALERT – and this is instantaneous – while the rational part of the brain tries to catch up and tell you that things are fine. Unfortunately the former is instinctual and we can’t just switch it off.

I don’t know if that helps. But that’s as best as I can explain both in terms of how it feels and from what I know about the current thinking in terms of the ‘science’.

Would you be able to send me the link to the Guardian article? (I didn’t realise we’d featured there).

Cheers, Tom