The Brain Basis for Misophonia

by Feb 7, 2017Research8 comments

Sukhbinder Kumar, Olana Tansley-Hancock, William Sedley, Joel S. Winston, Martina F. Callaghan, Micah Allen, Thomas E. Cope, Phillip E. Gander, Doris-Eva Bamiou, Timothy D. Griffiths

Featured in Current Biology, February 2nd 2017


  • Trigger sounds elicit exaggerated response in anterior insula in misophonia
  • In misophonia, there is abnormal functional connectivity of anterior insula
  • Heightened autonomic responses are mediated by anterior insula in misophonia
  • Misophonia is associated with altered interoception


“… Using functional and structural MRI coupled with physiological measurements, we demonstrate that misophonic subjects show specific trigger-sound-related responses in brain and body. Specifically, fMRI showed that in misophonic subjects, trigger sounds elicit greatly exaggerated blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses in the anterior insular cortex (AIC), a core hub of the “salience network” that is critical for perception of interoceptive signals and emotion processing.

Trigger sounds in misophonics were associated with abnormal functional connectivity between AIC and a network of regions responsible for the processing and regulation of emotions, including ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), posteromedial cortex (PMC), hippocampus, and amygdala.

Trigger sounds elicited heightened heart rate (HR) and galvanic skin response (GSR) in misophonic subjects, which were mediated by AIC activity… brain structural measurements implied greater myelination within vmPFC in misophonic individuals. Overall, our results show that misophonia is a disorder in which abnormal salience is attributed to particular sounds based on the abnormal activation and functional connectivity of AIC.”

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  1. Maggie

    I am happy too take part in any future trials.

  2. Jerome Cabrera

    My son needs answers. He has been suffering Misophonia like Sx right before he turned 13. ( he is now 14)

  3. Valentina

    Would love to take part in any trials for this.

  4. Paul Lauginiger

    I would be more than willing to participate in any trials to help treat misophonia

  5. John Stormnoiser

    I wish my country talked more about this, i can’t convince people with non-native language, they are don’t consider my problems, this makes me nut because i can’t adress my problems without looking lunatic, more when you have other psychological disorders and people think its a sum.

  6. Scott Halsband RN

    I have suffered from Misophonia since early childhood. When triggered it becomes totally encompassing and can send me into a rage. I have learned to deal by escaping the triggers, however this is not always possible in all situations. I hope that Mispohonia will be added to the DSM soon. I also suspect that it will be associated with Autism Spectrum.

  7. cj martin

    Oh just hearing 🙂 the word Mispohonia felt so liberating! In general I have Bat Hearing…and Tactile
    issues and until the last year or two I did not need glasses(almost 70 now)…I have enjoyed all of my quirkiness and especially the ability to read a book a day etc etc. However!! to have explained to me why specifically certain sounds
    drive me over the edge within seconds feels so wonderful! The worse part of it for me has been not being able to understand why these noises do not drive everyone crazy…and now I know they are not having the same experience as I am….hence….no wonder their experience is a kind of “no big deal”…I would love to be a study participant…the brain fascinates me and I have been studying it for fun over the last 15 years..I am so grateful for ALL of the hard work that everyone with so much knowledge has done and put into research for the rest of us….Thank you!!

  8. Kevin

    Well, it’s nice to know there’s a probable neurological explanation. My misophonia have so constricted and took joy from my life I would give anything to get rid of it. Even meds haven’t helped very much – just dull the reactions. Want to go in and cut out a piece of my brain, have at it! Electric shock – why not? Like most of us with this problem I’d pay whatever I hadd to – as long as I knew it would very probably work!


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