What is Misophonia?

Misophonia literally means “hatred of sound”.

It comes from the Greek words miso meaning “hate” and phon meaning “sound”. It’s also known as ‘Selective Sound Sensitivity’.

So what is it?

Simply put, misophonia sufferers have an adverse reaction to certain noises or sounds. Typically these sounds include chewing, lip smacking, tapping, crunching, rustling at other common day-to-day sounds.

Misophonia, noun, “A  neurological disorder in which negative experiences, such as anger or disgust, are triggered by specific sounds”

Very little research has been done into misophonia and to date less than 200,000 ‘known cases’ have come forward for diagnosis.

However, thanks to more recent exposure on Internet health forums, Twitter and community portals such as Reddit, the condition is starting to be talked about and recognised.

This is fantastic, but we still have a long way to go.

While misophonia is starting to become recognised as a genuine neurological disorder, health professionals are largely in the dark about it (very few have ever even heard of it). Doctors too often prescribe treatment or medication for depression, anxiety or OCD.

To date the word ‘misophonia’ is yet to be included in the Oxford dictionary. For a history of misophonia, what causes it and what is means, click here:

Did Darwin, Kafka and Proust suffer from Misophonia?

Darwin was said to have found it extremely difficult to filter out noise when he was working, as did Kafka.

Proust once said: “I need solitude for my writing; not “like a hermit” – that wouldn’t be enough – but like a dead man.”

There’s evidence to suggest that a number of prominent, historical figures may have suffered from the disorder. One of the greatest tasks ahead is to try to work out how sufferers can work with their misophonia and lead happy, fulfilling lives that harness the positive aspects of it.

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Please Read: Misophonia Survey University College London (UCL)

Please Read: Misophonia Survey University College London (UCL)

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have created an important online misophonia survey. It looks at the "mental wellbeing, satisfaction with life and ways of coping in people with misophonia". If you're aged 18+ and you're interested in taking part then...


  1. Andy Hastings

    Has the UCL survey closed?
    Clicking on the link returns a 503 error.

  2. Cathy K

    Using the terms “allergy” and “allergic” – which refer to an immune system response – to describe a neurological disorder does a disservice to everyone. It is inaccurate and misleading. It confuses people who are not educated about allergies, and leads them to believe that they can claim an allergy to anything they dislike or find annoying. True allergies are serious, and can be deadly. I don’t mean to minimize the seriousness of misophonia, neurological disorders are also serious business. but please don’t call it an allergy.

    • Corrina

      I believe you may not have a clear understanding of what allergies are. They are an inflammatory response to a certain trigger because something is out of balance in your body. Neurological triggers also create an inflammatory response in the body leading to oxidative stress and psychosomatic symptoms. These symptoms can include allergy-like symptoms such as rashes. Both the symptoms of allergies and neurological disorders can lead to death. While you’re right that they are not *exactly* the same, metaphorically, they are very similar. But ultimately, there was no reason for you to take offense. Your comment was literally unnecessary “noise”.

  3. Debbie Keller

    I am teaching an autistic student to read. He is easily irritated by the phonetic sounds I make when teaching him to sound out words. (s, st, sh,v, etc.). How can I teach him to read when we encounter these sounds?

  4. Sheila L Herbst

    Western Civ, which is it’s own disease, of course, is incapable for instance, in perceiving the Chinese understanding; that it is human generated nonNatural sound as cause for disharmony. Two fundamental attributes of Nature: Emptiness and Stillness. The two foundational Harmonies missing in Western driven Industrial Age.

  5. Sheila L Herbst



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