Share Your Tips for Coping with Misophonia

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  • #1008947 Reply

      Hi, everyone – lifelong misophone here, daughter of another misophone. I have serious problems with repetitive high-pitched noises, bass sounds such as music outside or neighbor sounds, and breathing sounds. My mom’s version focuses more around mouth sounds, but she shares the repetitive noises thing with me. We’ve both developed a lot of coping mechanisms over the years, but I’ve recently found something which does a far better job.

      I know I’ll sound like a spokesperson for Bose here, but hand to God, I promise I’m not. Bose recently came out with a thing called Sleep Buds. I took an interest in them because I had been considering buying specialized hearing aids for tinnitus sufferers which pump pink or white noise into your ear, but they’re somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000 across the board, absolutely unaffordable. The Sleep Buds are $250, and they are, if anything, better than the hearing aids, because you actually can sleep with them in, unlike a hard hearing aid or noise-canceling headphones. They use bluetooth to play a selection of white/pink sounds in your ear, and they have a battery life of about sixteen hours.

      With the ear buds in, but not turned on, the volume on the world is turned down already. Played softly, the ‘downstream’ track eliminates crackling, gurgling, and whistling from speech sounds. Played at mid-range, eating noises are eliminated. Played at the highest level, I can’t hear anything but the very loudest noises, for instance, a door slamming right nearby. Snoring, chewing, snorting, clicking, all of it GONE. My husband played Youtube videos of my most rage-inducing sounds, and I couldn’t hear them. Guys – I could not hear them at all. I don’t even need them in all the time, because having them nearby and knowing I can put them in whenever I need to is a stress reducer by itself.

      To some, $250 is a lot of money, but I can’t say this fervently enough: the salvation of your sanity is worth this price. Please get it, get it now, and find out what it’s like not to have your system soaking in adrenaline all the time. It’s like getting to leave hell at last.

      #1008994 Reply

        Pulling faces at people talking with food in their mouths has given me a lot of success. Saying “Urgh” is a sarcastic, but friendly manner has often worked a treat. It also calms me down a little, somehow!

        A long and sustained “BBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at people tapping or clicking pens has done wonders for me.

        It still bemuses me why people are so oblivious and ignorant with how I react.

        #1009062 Reply

          I’m now in a very pro-active phase of trying to manage my Misophonia because it is affecting my relationship with my boyfriend. I just set up an appointment with a Behavioral Therapist. He seems to have a least a glancing understanding of the disorder. I also am going to go to an audiologist with the hope of getting some sort of a hearing devise to play “white noise” whenever I’m triggered.

          #1009150 Reply

            I have a few coping mechanisms. One is to just play music to drown out the other sound or mimic the sound being made. This helps for most of my triggers.

            I also have the trigger of sounds made by certain fabrics when someone starts shaking their leg. I’ve noticed that if I start shaking my leg then I trick my brain into thinking I’m making the sound and then it doesn’t bother me.

            #1009217 Reply

              Just wanted to say that hearing people’s triggers can be triggering. This thread title is tips for coping – now what sets you off. It would be great if just tips could get posted, or if we could start a new thread that is just tips.

              #1009224 Reply

                Has anyone tried high fidelity earplugs, like Vibes or Eargasm? I’ve used silicone earplugs for years, but I’m looking for something more healthy and durable.

                Or, can anyone share experiences with wireless earbuds?

                #1009500 Reply

                  I remember when I was a kid the sound of chewing never bothered me. Then one day out of the blue I started noticing people chewing. Ever since around 8th grade I have had the biggest problem with gum chewing, loud smacking, and the sound of a fork scarping someones teeth. My parents used to get so upset at me when I would tell them to stop chewing or that the sound bothered me but then they discovered this was an actual disorder. When I found this out I was finally able to not feel insane but I still absolutely HATE the feeling I get. All my friends know about my disorder but I still have lots of problems dealing with it. I can feel them all hate me when I ask if they wouldn’t mind spitting their gum out. Im also about to start college and am sooooo scared about gum chewing. How would someone handle it if you were in a meeting and someone was chewing gum? I mean you cant leave so what are you supposed to do?

                  #1009578 Reply

                    @Isabella, I had a huge problem with this in college, I didn’t realize until much later that I had misophonia, and did not really have many good coping mechanisms. Couple that with being an auditory learner and I had a really tough time.

                    If I had to do it over I would definitely try and get some help from whatever department handles disabilities — get a private room for test taking, see if you can record the lectures to listen to later (without someone chewing gum, snacking, or whispering behind you), get any other help they might offer. Sitting in the front of the class is good for engaging, but the absolute worst for misophonia, so try sitting in the back of the class. Also, keep earplugs with you at all times just in case.

                    #1009601 Reply

                      Unfortunately, although I suffer from the condition, hate eating around others, cannot bear certain sounds, chewing gum, smacking lips, slurping soup etc. I have the most understanding husband who bought home a pair of ear defenders from his work. They look industrial, so probably won’t look cool on the bus etc but boy, do they cut out the noise when he is eating. Bless him!

                      #1010021 Reply

                        Here are some techniques I have learned throughout the years to improve everyday life as a person with Misophonia:

                        • Use white noise.
                        • Use earplugs.
                        • Music therapy.
                        • Headsets at the theater.
                        • Imagine yourself in their shoes.
                        • Leave and breathe.
                        • Explain it to people.
                        • Therapy.
                        #1010031 Reply

                          The coping techniques so far divide between those that physically exclude the sound (by leaving the room or drowning it out), and what I’ll call experiential: those that work through dealing with the sound. I have used the former, but at 35 now, I want the latter, as I want to exist in everyday life where these noises are without withdrawing.

                          As a teen, the one experiential technique that offered a glimmer of hope, when covering my ears was impossible, was mimicking the noise. I think what helped was the brief control. There was something I could do to deflate the power the noise had over me and throw it back on itself. Eventually it’s a war of attrition—people always seem to have more energy to make the sound than I have to combat it—and its utility eventually wears off.

                          My experience is complex when I suffer from a sound: there’s the 1) pain it causes me, 2) anger that rises up, 3) feeling of loss of control over myself, 4) isolating self-focus as I’m drawn into myself where the pain is rather than being with people in the real world, 5) the fear of it, the shame and guilt, self-judgement and eventually self-pity from suffering and fuming over something so “small.”

                          The “be happy in the situation” that some have mentioned is interesting if it actually reduces the problem. I think what might work about that is to keep a person outside of themselves, instead of going inside. I’m looking into “tapping” right now; a series of taps you perform on different pressure points on your body to reduce anxiety and pain. Obviously not something I could do while a sound is happening but maybe preventatively as a way of dealing with the fear and my feelings around the noises.

                          I think there may be some hope in what one person brought up about EMDR. My counselor did one session of that with me a long time ago in regards to noises my dad makes, and a few of the milder noises he makes that used to bother me don’t anymore. I don’t know why I didn’t follow up with more sessions of that—the technique feels a little silly and I was afraid it was a little like hypnotism, which I don’t like—but I’m going to try it again and will report back, as I’m sure we all will, if it or anything else helps.

                          #1010072 Reply

                            Hi, I have had misophonia for as long as I can remember. It has only ever effected my life negativley it forces me to alienate myself from my friends and my family and they wondery why I do it because I feel like I am unable to explain it. Honestly I have multiple times but im either hit with “your crazy” or “It’s in your head”. There is no professional help around my area (Buffalo NY) and I feel lost and consumed by this disorder. I feel as though all its doing is pulling me away from any relationships with people and I cant even explain why because Im dealing with something literally only other people with it can truly understand. Some people Ive told say they understand and then they sit right next to me and start eating and then I either have to be weird by asking them to moving or by me leaving the room. It causes so much social anxiety creating angry thoughts that I dont even want to have about my friends but when I hear them making chewing noises it makes me want to punch them in the face. This disorder is eating me from the inside out and I feel like I cant tell anyone who will understand or talk to anyone face to face who has studied it or at least had the same issues. There are no professionals to talk to except for a therapist which isnt a terrible thing but its clearly not a good solution at all. All im asking is do I have a chance at living a normal life or will I constantly be in a battle with myself hurting everyone around me?

                            #1010199 Reply
                            cesar lamschtein

                              Hi everyone, my case is quite special… I suffer misophonia as long as I can remember and believe it or not, my work and passion is Audio engineering. I’ve have been working professionally in this field for more than 25 years now. I serve as the Vice president of the LATAM region for the Audio Engineering Society, and… get myself working in the last 2 or 3 years in a way of coping with my disorder.

                              After experimenting and designing several approaches to this, I came up with a brief for a “prothesis” I designed which is giving me great results so far.

                              1) prothesis should not prevent from hearing everyone else talking nor harm substantially word inteligibility (people you are dealing with, should not feel you are blocking them away, after all, we want to be sociable…)
                              2) prothesis should be as unostructive as possible (people you are dealing with, should not feel you are wearing something strange) visually and audibly prothesis should not be “seen, as such and should not be heard by others if it emits sound” (after all we are trying to be included in a dinner table…)
                              3) prothesis should not harm your hearing (i’ve been proposed some “sound therapy” that would raise my threshold of hearing in some freqs (aka loosing sensitivity in some frequencies, associated with my triggers) wich is not acceptable, specially to me because of my work.

                              after trying to block, filter, shape the sound so the attack portion of sounds are smoothed out (my main triggers are fast attack, fast decay, fast release, high pitched sound (above 3KHz), generated by humans, mostly eating, chewing, etc. (the regular stuff, but some others too) I REALISED THAT THE BEST WAY TO GO IS MASKING.

                              for doing that, I designed several noises, based originally in white and nature sounds, high passed it from 3Khz, modulate in pitch and level, it in order to avoid psichoacustically brain adaptation to noise, and noise shaping it usign FIR and IIR filters in order to “DITHER” my ears.

                              these noises are in a app in my iphone and I am currently testing very promising blutooth bone conducting headphones, even some that are actual lenses, so they are really unobstrusive and my ears are fully opened to the environement.

                              I’m on my 3rd month testing and THIS IS REALLY WORKING

                              I DO hear the sounds that bother me, (some of the worst, my father chewing and slurping…) but they don’t trigger me while hearing the noise!

                              I’d like to find fellow misophonic people around me (montevideo Uruguay) in order to include them in a protocol for pursuing this research and fine tuning what I believe may be a shareable solution to many.

                              anyone in this forum nearby montevideo, Uruguay?

                              #1010237 Reply

                                My worst ones are chewing and sniffing. I have yet to find a solution for chewing other than blasting white noise directly into my ears during meals, but I actually have a trick for helping with sniffling.
                                Of course, headphones or removing yourself from the situation would be better but if both are entirely impossible then sometimes it can help if you pretend it’s actually the sound of paper ripping (unless that’s also a trigger, I guess. I’m kinda new, ahah).
                                If you can convince your brain that your sniffing neighbour is actually just tearing paper (if you can get into the right frame of mind, they’re remarkably similar sounds) then it reduces how annoying it is. If you have misokinesia and the person is in your eyeline, you’re out of luck.

                                #1010267 Reply

                                  Hii, I’m just glad that I’m not alone, and my case is kind of different I guess…

                                  Well, I’m scared of loud sound/noise with vibration (kind of hard to explain), and these sounds always trigger my fight or flight response and sometimes with a thought of vulnerability.

                                  To explain this, I will share about my gym experience. Btw this is just one of many experiences I encountered.

                                  So at that time, I have been gymming for about a few months and suddenly my fear, of deadlifting/slamming the weight onto the ground, appear out of nowhere. I remember my first experience and the first reaction is to get out of the gym as fast as possible.

                                  Another experience is about the echoing sound that in the long empty storeroom with the door shut.

                                  So… what triggers me was that loud vibrating sort of sound and thoughts of example “does the shaking gym windows that contribute to the sound going to break? or even got to do with my surging emotions?”

                                  And… my way to cope this is really to face it. I seriously can’t quit the gym just because of this so I decided to remove my earpiece and prepare to fight my fear head-on. The first few attempts are horrifying, my heart beat so damn fast, breathing gets heavier and wants to run out of here.

                                  Luckily, it took me a while and finally I get to cope with it. However (Just That Particular Sound).

                                  Then what happens is that I found another sound that i fear of, the sound of the string vibrating off an untuned guitar and well i just going try again. Oh man, I remember that I shouted at my sis not to play that guitar…

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