Ask Tom Dozier

Let’s Not Confuse Misophonia and Sensory Processing Disorder – Part 1
August 2, 2016

Ask Tom Dozier

Please submit your question to Tom Dozier using the comment field on this page.  He will answer your question here.

Question: Is it a form of Misophonia where hearing the “s” sound from some of my kids, but not all, causes the reactions you speak about? I hate that it makes me feel like a bad parent.
Answer: Yes.  This IS misophonia.  Generally a trigger starts with a single source (one child) and then grows to include other children and other sounds.  Misophonia is a neurological condition that causes an involuntary reflex to the sound.  You are not choosing to have those horrible feelings toward specific children.  It is your Lizard Brain doing this to you.  So I give you permission to REGRET the situation but please don’t feel guilty.  Your ugly misophonic feelings are beyond your control.  I hope you find the information on this website helpful.

Question:  One of the most common questions is, “Is there a misophonia treatment provider in my area?”
Answer:  There are treatment providers listed on the Treatment Providers page (http://misophoniatreatment.com/treatment-providers)
– Tom Dozier works with individuals around the world by video-chat, so this treatment is available to you regardless of where you live.

Question:  Is misophonia caused by the genes I inherit or by life experiences.
Answer:  Misophonia influenced by both our genes and our life experiences, our environment.  A person who is genetically inclined to be anxious or stressed is more likely to develop misophonia than a person who is very calm and easy going.  But it still takes life events to develop misophonia.  These life events do not need to be traumatic or the result of a bad home environment.  Often children who are anxious or stressed can be upset over seemingly small things.  People have to develop the misophonia triggers, which is technically a form of learning of the Autonomic Nervous System (our Lizard Brain), but this does not require anyone to “teach” the child this.  Just as a child learns to walk, without help, a child can develop misophonia without anyone teaching it to him or her.

Question:  Hello Tom ! I would like to ask you about PRT , have you found something new in curing misophonia with this method?
Answer:  PRT was a great hope of ours for treatment a year ago, but it still needs work for wide use.  My daughter and granddaughter were cured of their misophonia with this treatment.  Currently, about half of the people treated show a positive response to the treatment, and half have no effect.  The problem is that most of those who respond positively regress.  Their misophonia comes back.  It did not come back for my daughter and granddaughter.  They are still trigger free after 13 months.  Right now, we only promote the PRT treatment for individuals who can travel to Thayne, Wyoming to be treated at least once every 3 months.  Dr. Sessions needs more practical experience with this treatment, and we are soliciting people in the Thayne area for help so PRT can become an effective, predictable treatment for misophonia.

92 Comments

  1. Megan Denecke says:

    Dear Tom,

    I am a university student and I have an irrational hatred of chalkboards and chalk sounds. Growing up all the public schools I went to had white boards not chalk boards so I don’t know if I’ve had this fear all my life or just since my first year at college. Halfway through my second semester at college. I was in a classroom when I had a sudden panic attack when my teacher was enthusiastically writing on the chalkboard. Ever since then I have avoided chalkboards whenever possible. Now I am in my 4th year of college with 3 more to go and I find I am having a hard time in my classrooms (they all have chalkboards). Its nearing the end of the first semester this year and I am stressed with finals but I am finding that every noise is making me crazy and I am not being able to focus on anything but the sounds all around me. whether its music I can hear through someones headphones, music I can hear through the wall, someone clicking a pocket grip on their pen/pencil, people talking, the sound of a classmate wearing a letter-man jacket with 2 dozen medals that clang together every time he moves. My roommate making noises on her side of the room. I am constantly irritated and I can’t find a quiet and comfortable place to study for finals unless its 3am and everyone is asleep. I’m in the library right now (libraries are supposed to be quiet) and there is a small group of people studying together and I can’t stand the sound of them talking. I’ve recently sought out accommodation for the chalkboard sound but there is little that the school can do when the math department is attached to their chalkboards and I’m a math education major. I love the friendliness and atmosphere of the school and I don’t want to change schools again, but not having a quiet comfortable place, free of triggers, is making me anxious and on the verge of a panic attack. I’m at a loss of what else to do. I can’t exactly wear earplugs in class. that would defeat the purpose of being in class!

    • Tom Dozier says:

      You may be able to have an assisted listening device. The instructor wears a lapel microphone, so the chalk noise would be reduced (but probably still there). You could also add a comforting and blocking noise, along with the assisted listening device.

      You could seek treatment, such as the Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy, which can be provided by video-chat. Daily muscle training may also help, and may help greatly depending on your initial physical reflex to triggers.

      I wish you well. Misophonia is very difficult.

  2. Charles says:

    Hi Tom,
    My daughter asked me to research misophonia because of the way I respond to certain sounds. When she was young, the very distinguishable sound she made whenever she said her “es” sounds bothered me. I have many of the triggers you talk about, but I don’t feel rage or hatred towards the person making the sounds. Those are harsh words, so I wonder if, like many other conditions, there is a continuum or spectrum that many of us fall under. Also, if those close to me make noises while eating, it annoys and frustrates me, but being around young children making noises while eating doesn’t bother me ( because they don’t know better). When those close to me trigger my response, I believe it is because I take it personally. Are they trying to bug me? Why would they eat this way? Do they not have manners? Are they not aware of how it sounds? Even when my wife has a cold and coughs a lot, it bothers me because of the sound she is making. Can’t she cough more quietly? Does she have no awareness of how she sounds? Another person coughing the same way wouldn’t bother me because I don’t take it personally, unless I felt that they were being inconsiderate. Anytime there is someone around me who is making annoying sounds, I get annoyed if I feel they are being inconsiderate or are oblivious to those around them. Certain voices also annoy me. I am always commenting to my wife about the irritating voice someone may have. I don’t go into a rage about it, but I am very opinionated about the irritating sound of some people’s voices. My wife says I am very sensitive. My wife and I are very close and love each other, but it seems that more and more I’m annoyed by the sounds she makes. If she is eating an apple, I have to eat one at the same time in order to “cancel” the noise she is making! After researching your site I have a better understanding and awareness of what it happening to me and I feel that I can now move forward and tackle these triggers. Do you feel I have misophonia or am I just a sensitive person who takes things too personally?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      This sounds like misophonia. It is likely that some of your muscles are tightening slightly when you hear these specific sounds. If you can identify where you are tensing, focus on relaxing those muscles. If you cannot identify the specific muscles, I suggest you try to relax all the muscles in your body when you are around these sounds.

      Do a Progressive Muscle Relaxation guided audio each day for 1 month. If you do this, you will develop the skill of relaxing your muscles. Relaxing after a trigger reduces the frustration feeling. Relaxing before a trigger (and holding the relaxation) and continuing after the trigger can change the reflex and reduce the future misophonic response (and therefore the irritation from the sound). This takes time. For the sound like your wife eating an apple, it may take 30 or more minutes of relaxing and hearing the sound for your response to stop. It may take several times of this.

      See misophoniatreatment.com/pmr for a video about Progressive Muscle Relaxation and guided audio files. Please let us know how this works for you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have bad misophonia with sounds of eating, and being able to hear my sisters music. Why is it so serious with only my family? Occasionally I’ll get irritated with others if they chew really loud, but it’s doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Generally misophonia develops to the sound of a specific person (or thing) which we hear often. Most people develop their first misophonia trigger in their home. A trigger is a complex conditioned stimulus. It includes the sound, setting, who is there, and social context. Once it develops, it gets stronger with experience. So the more you hear a trigger, the stronger your response becomes. So you’ve had more time (and number of trigger experiences) with your sister and family members than with others outside of your home.

      You should consciously try to distract yourself, relax, and smile when you are triggered outside of your home. This can help slow or stop the process of the outside triggers from getting worse. I wish you well.

  4. Samantha says:

    Hi Tom,

    It is out of sadness, desperation, and utter frustration that I write this. I have struggled with misophonia since I was a young girl. For the longest time (roughly a decade), the only thing that triggered me was my mom’s chewing; gum and food. Whenever she was eating around me there was an instant, physical response. I’d feel a sinking in my stomach and instant rage. Lately, within the past few months, other things have started “triggering” me as well. I can no longer handle when others chew gum or food; family or not. There are both auditory and visual triggers. If I see someone from across the room chewing (gum of food), even if I cannot hear them, my body responds with panic, rage, and obsession. I do not even know where to go from here. I would opt for brain surgery if I knew it would fix my sensitivities. As of today, sounds concerning eating and chewing gum are my only triggers. No other sounds set me off. Some visual triggers concerning the mouth are also present (constant lip licking, chewing on one’s lips, and gum cracking).

    My main questions are these:

    What can I do? Are there therapies I can do at home that don’t require a doctor? Any apps I can download? I currently live in remote Alaska and there are no practitioners trained for misophonia here. Are there any chiropractic methodologies I could inquire about locally? Secondly, are there any medications that have made a positive impact? I saw a YouTube video of a girl who had been on Vyvanse for a little over a year with positive results! I’m willing to try anything. I’d even fly to Wyoming to meet with the doctor who is doing PRT. Please help me. I’m not suicidal, but there are days that make me feel as though death would be more pleasant than existing with these problems.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Hi Samantha,

      There are treatments for misophonia that you can do from home. Internet video-chat is a wonderful tool. The first step I recommend is having an assessment/education/management/treatment-options session. I can provide this. Then, based on your specific characteristics of misophonia, there are several ways to proceed. The 2 that work well by video-chat are 1) Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy and 2) behavioral techniques which include muscle training, relaxation, focused attention, and good management. Many times, it is advisable to start with some behavioral techniques and proceed with Sequent Repatterning. There is hope!

      Dr. Scott Sessions is the only person who provides PRT (in Wyoming), and he is not taking any new patients until December, 2018.

  5. J says:

    I’m positive I have misophonia. I’ve suffered from it for over 52 years but just thought I was being ridiculous that I couldn’t stand to hear people eat, scraping the bowl with a fork or have the fork touch their teeth, crumpling potato chip bag each time they brought a chip to their mouth, etc, etc. I will not go to a movie because I can’t take all the popcorn eating, throat clearing or cell phones on mute. Whatever! The sound of a cell phone on “vibrate” is explosive to me. It’s more bothersome than a full volume ringtone. It’s been worse the last four-five years when I’ve been forced to share an office cubicle with four other people. I’ve been here 21 years and love my job. However, after the first two years in the cubical and being bombarded by a co-workers country music running 8 hrs a day, 40 hrs a week and constant bowl scraping, apple, chips and carrot chewing, I finally asked the person if she would turn the music off and the constant eating was really causing a problem. I asked her twice in a week, but she made no effort to change. One particularly stressful day, I slammed the phone, cussed and accidently kicked a chair as I tried to run out of the office to escape. This co-worker turned me in for hostile work environment. Humiliating. I don’t want to be a problem. I want to get along with people. Thankfully, the offender was directed to wear headphones to listen to her music. But the eating continues. I’ve been dealing with the last three years by purchasing noise cancelling headphones and I wear them most of the day. When it gets too bad, I leave the cubicle until I think the eating is over. I don’t say anything anymore. It’s getting to the point I can hardly stand the sound of coughing, throat clearing, keyboarding or someone repetitively “stamping approved” on invoices, etc. Now I wonder if my 6 year old grandson may have it. He’s very intelligent and his reading is above average. He can carry on adult conversations regarding subjects that really interest him. He’s a deep thinker. His teacher says he cries at least once every day since school started. He says his classmates are “annoying” him. But she says she doesn’t see anyone touching him or what he could be annoyed about. One day he had a meltdown and started punching another kid because he was annoyed. He has had meltdowns in music class where he holds his ears and tries to run out of the room crying because he hates the music. A couple of time whiles watching youtube kids programs, some music starts to play in the background of the video and he holds his ears and runs to another room. Is certain music a trigger for misophonia? I know I have had to leave a store that has country music blaring on the sound system due to my two years of having to listen to it. Anyway, thank you so much for putting a name to this craziness. And thanks for your informative website. Some of the stuff on youtube regarding misophonia is pretty lame and downright scary. I typed in “misophonia music” on youtube last night. There is a band called Misophonia. Not sure if it’s a rock band or what. Very disturbing demonic sounding music. I shut it off immediately. Thanks again for your time.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I know of one case where the office sounds became such strong triggers that the person went on private disability, and then was successful getting Social Security disability. But this is unusual. I suggest you find a noise to play through your headphones that does a much better job at blocking triggers. This is very important to prevent the increasing severity of your misophonia to office noises. I suggest getting the apps White Noise by TMSOFT and White Noise Market. Experiment with the different noises and downloads from White Noise Market. Make several mixes of noise and see what blocks triggers for you.

      It sounds like your grandson also has misophonia. There is a section in Understanding and Overcoming Misophonia called “Trigger Game” and I will post that on page now. I am back and just added this information to the bottom of this page https://misophoniainstitute.org/treatments-for-children/. We with parents by video-chat to teach and guide this form of treatment. It is actually great fun for the child and can produce excellent results.

  6. Mary says:

    HI Tom,
    My 23 year old daughter has always been sensitive to sounds like chewing gum, eating, clipping nails, talking in car, etc. and can get very angry when we do them. She is able to control her reactions with friends but says its hard. We had her hearing tested when she was in HS and also a psychological as she struggles with taking tests. She does have reading comprehension issues and so we got accommodations in place for taking tests such as wearing headphones and taking tests outside of class. It seems to help but lately she has expressed concern that it is interfering and getting worse for her in college. She is studying to be a surgical tech and she had to watch a video of a surgery. The patient in the video was snoring and she said thats all she could tjink about and didn’t get anything out of video. She is scared it will happen when she is actually working. She also says it is causing tension with her longtime boyfriend. He has a breathing problem and sniffs alot. She sees a therapist and takes medicine for anxiety.
    Anyway, we don’t know wherr to start. We live in North Dakota but are willing to go where needed. Just want to know if we can go to someone locally to get an idea if this is misophonia or can we go through you?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I don’t know anyone in North Dakota who provides treatment for misophonia. See misophoniatreatment.com for treatment providers. We can set up an assessment by video-chat. Depending on the assessment, a treatment plan will be recommended and the treatment can usually be provided by video-chat. We look forward to helping her.

  7. Meg says:

    I’ve just learnt about misophonia and Im not sure if I have it but I don’t know if I’m just over reacting. When I hear sounds like rain, clocks ticking, crunches, heart beats and other sounds that are constant I get really anxious and sometimes it’s really bad and I want to punch something or break the thing that’s making the sound but other times it just makes me uncomfortable.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      That sounds like a misophonic response to me. The severity of the response often varies depending on how good or bad you are feeling.

  8. claire says:

    hi tom! i think i have misophonia, but i don’t like to diagnose myself; i want an expert’s opinion. i have issues with repetitive noises such as foot/pencil tapping, chewing, and the clicking of keys/mouse on computers. i don’t usually have extremely negative reactions to these unless i am in a stress filled environment. for example, last year i was taking a test in calculus and the girl around me was biting her nails. i became extremely agitated, unable to focus on my test in front of me. i also would think about doing anything i could to get the girl to stop. the teacher ended up leaving the room for a brief moment; i was absolutely enraged by that point, so much so that i turned to the girl and angrily told her to shut up. another perfect example happened just today. i was taking our weekly quiz in my math class, and my friend next to me was tapping her foot. the same thing happened, i became very anxious and angry. however, this time i ended up just kicking my backpack so it landed on her foot (she stopped afterward). i know i definitely have an issue here. my parents have told me just to tune out the noises, but ive tried so hard and been unable to. i am a very good student, so it upsets me that i get lower grades than i really should because i can’t focus. do i have misophonia or just a form of test anxiety? or a mix of both?

    thank you in advance

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The next time this happens, slouch in your chair or lean on your desk and relax all of your muscles. Pay attention to anything you feel in your body when you hear the trigger sound and let me know what you perceive. If you can keep relaxing, it will reduce the anger and may also reduce the severity of future reactions. Relaxing and staying relaxed may eliminate the misophonic response.

      (you probably have misophonia, but this is not a diagnoses).

      I wish you well.

  9. Cheryl Sullivan says:

    Well I worked hard this summer and got a formal diagnosis for Misophonia. It was expensive, humiliating, and insulting. I was put on display and judged by strangers, but I got it done. Put in a Request for Accommodations at work. I asked for a quieter office or to work from home a few days a week. They denied everything and suggested I get headphones or take a demotion and cut in pay while I “seek treatment.” How can that be a fair outcome? I’m being punished because I tried to help myself. I don’t know what my next step should be.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      This link give you information about filing a complaint. https://www.ada.gov/filing_complaint.htm
      This link is where you can file a complaint. https://www.ada.gov/complaint/

      But before you do this, I recommend that you go to your human resources department (or your employer if there is no HR department), and ask nicely but firmly for accommodations. Tell them that the Americans with Disabilities act required that they make reasonable accommodations. If you are suffering from auditory triggers, then wearing headphones is a reasonable accommodation. You can wear headphones and listen to noise using the app White Noise by TMSoft. You can create your own noise mix that provides the best blocking of triggers. You should also use noise cancelling headphones, such as the Parrot Zik 2.0, Bose QC20, 25, 30, or 35, or Parrot Zik 3. The Bose QC30 gives you the best flexibility and allows you to set the level of noise cancellation, so you can turn it off and talk to others while still wearing the headphones.

      For even better noise blocking, use the Etymotic MC5 noise isolating headphones. These come with 3 types of earpieces. I like the memory foam ones the best. Essentially these headphones are earplugs with speakers in the middle.

      You should definitely try the headphones before filing a complaint or talking to HR. This way, you can determine how much this will help you and whether further accommodations are needed.

  10. Rosemarie Tiberi says:

    Tom,
    My 16 year old daughter has been suffering since the age of 6 with misophonia. It is absolutely heart wrenching to watch her experience the torment that results after a trigger. She is sweet and highly intelligent. Her academics have not suffered, but it gets worse every year. This year (her junior year) we have a 504 in place for her because the misophonia has become unbearable in the classroom setting. I am so concerned for her mental health and what will happen when she eventually attends college. She has seen an audiologist who also diagnosed her with bilateral central hearing loss. Are you aware of any individuals who have the two processing disorders simultaneously? She has also seen a neurologist and therapist.
    The children’s hospital is trialing a pair of assistive hearing devices with her and another teen in the area. The devices sync with her iPhone and are ideally supposed to block the severity of the triggers she encounters. This is one part of her 504 accommodations. The other teen’s condition was so dire he attempted suicide. This is a very real disorder and I am so desperate to find answers for individuals who suffer.
    I guess my frustration also lies in the fact that so many individuals view misophonia as a made up condition; something that can be easily dealt with. I feel like my mission is to create awareness, and I am lacking direction at this point in time. I don’t know if you can advise me as to what steps can be taken. I am constantly looking for answers, listening to podcasts, reading articles, etc. I just feel like I am not doing everything I can to help her. It is an extremely helpless feeling. Thanks for listening.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The directors of the Misophonia Institute have 2 unpublished journal articles that provides insight into the nature of misophonia. These articles provide evidence of the initial physical reflex response of misophonia. Chris Pearson developed a hypnotherapy treatment for misophonia which addresses this characteristic. Over the past 5 years, the average improvement of his patients has been more than a 50% reduction in misophonia severity as measured by the Misophonia Assessment Questionnaire.

      Tom Dozier developed a treatment that addresses the initial physical reflex. His assessment of clients includes testing for this reflex. His treatments include behavioral exercises that can directly reduce this reflex. The effectiveness of this depends on the specific muscles that are included in this reflex.

      We wish you daughter well. Misophonia is a very real and horrible condition.

  11. Penelope Archer says:

    Hello,

    My father felt completely alone when he first started experiencing symptoms. When my mother and father got married, they both merely thought that he was different. However, when my brother was born and eventually began to experience reactions to trigger noises, they began research. I remember the first night that I reacted to a trigger. Everyone in my family was distraught because they new the tough future I had ahead of me. Now, I am approaching my college years rapidly. My brother requested a single dorm because of his misophonia and it worked quite well. However, I truly want to experience having a roommate that starts out as a stranger and ends up being a close friend. I want to live on campus in a dorm my freshman year with someone new, but I am afraid I won’t be able to handle it. I also want to join a sorority, but I know that living on a sleeping porch would be the worst thing possible for me. I don’t know what other options there are for sororities, but I know that if I pledged I would want to at some point live in the house. Long story short, do you know of any way I can find myself happily living in dorm or a sorority house?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The individual characteristics of misophonia very greatly. Some people have characteristics that allow it to be easily treated, and for others it is very difficult to reduce the severity of misophonia. There are treatments for misophonia. You can help reduce the chance of picking up new triggers if you learn to relax your muscles. Again, this depends on the individual. You sound like a positive, generally outgoing and happy person. If this is true, it is easier to reduce your misophonia (especially if you can also be easy-going and less anxious about general things). I worked with a young woman who went to university and stayed in a dorm with a roommate. She did very well. The important thing is for you to learn how to gradually reduce the severity of your misophonia instead of it getting gradually worse. I wish you well.

  12. larry says:

    my wife suffers from all sorts of noises. I’ve know a couple of her triggers. 1) sound of children bouncing a basket ball on the street. 2) hearing the neighbors dog bark 3) hearing the neighbors talk on the phone 4) hearing the neighbors music. She did suffer abuse by both her parents as a child. basically, if she can hear it then she suffers anxiety. Snoring is another trigger yet fortunately I do not snore. We both listened to your program tonight. I always try to encourage her to listen to her nice music, wear ear plugs, or do something to change her focus. sometimes she forgets or gets distracted. will your program work for her?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      There are other characteristics of misophonia which greatly affect the response to treatment, specifically the initial physical response. My experience is that most people improve with treatment and good management, but the amount of improvement varies greatly. We do our best to make the cost of the initial treatment affordable by having reduced rates where needed. I offer a satisfaction-money back guarantee for the misophonia services I provide.

      My experience is that when a person makes a steady effort to address their misophonia, that their misophonia usually improves. But there are cases where it does not.

  13. Kathleen Duffy says:

    Hi Tom,
    Today I had my ephiny. I didn’t know misophonia was a disorder others shared. I’ve suffered in silence since I was young. My earliest memory of it was of my aunt’s boxer dog drinking and eating. It makes me shutter to think of it even now. Ugh. My mother also had it and expressed it very well in words I could not. She was almost completely deaf for most of my youth. She had otosclarosis . Later in life she had a stapedecomy in one ear. The sounds were so distressing to her she chose not to have the second ear done. She described the sounds of feet scuffling, crickets and such as being horrid enough to drive her mad. She often barked at me as we watched tv in the evening because she could see me twisting my hair out of the corner of her eye. I’ve not had any loss of hearing and my triggers are so different that I didn’t realize they are two sides of the same coin. Mine are mostly “wet” sounds. (sloppy kissing, macaroni salad stirring, etc.) Visiting my Grandmother in the nursing home was a living hell. There were days I had to run out. That’s the background.

    Here’s the observation. (bare with me, it my first day of knowing) In my late 20s I went to work for a railroad. On board for 40-80 hrs. a week. I didn’t notice it right off, but, my triggers had subsided. Not just while I was on the train. Even after I got off and went home. Nana wasn’t so disgusting, my mother was now funny when she made those “yum” sounds while she ate her dreaded pineapple, I didn’t have to turn the channel on those sloppy tv kissers. (Geez who kisses like that in real life). 20 years. 20 years I spent in peace. Then I got arthritis and retired early. It all came back; with a vengeance. One time during my working years I did notice the triggers sneaking back in. I had an accident and was home for about 8 weeks. I also noticed I had to get re-acclimated to the train motion again upon my return.

    Here’s the question. Do you think the constant motion of the train or the droning noise had some kind of canceling effect on whatever mechanism in the brain sets the signals off for my triggers? Do you think it’s worth looking into? I would discount happiness as a factor because it was an extremely hard job. I only stayed because the money was ok. However I would not discount the distraction factor. Thoughts?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The evidence is that misophonia is a conditioned aversive reflex disorder. “Conditioned” means that the brain develops the response through experience. On the train, the noise may have allowed you to hear triggers, in a muted form or possibly you heard them in a different context and setting (and did not respond or had a weakened response). Hearing weak triggers in a positive situation can allow the reflex to change. This is the basis of the Neural Repatterning Technique (aka Trigger Tamer). Schroder et al., 2017 reported that experiencing real-life, full-strength triggers did not reduce the misophonia response, but seemed to increase it. This is often reported by people I have talked to. So once you stopped the railroad (with whatever beneficial effect that had), the misophonia reflex response increased with continual exposure to your old triggers.

  14. JTD says:

    Thank you for this web-site and knowledge. I thought I was just sound sensitive. My son sent me the link to the disorder and said that was me. I agree. I am a 51 year old female whom just reentered the workforce into a cubicle. People talking and the phone ring is disturbing my focus and I feel irritated with the phone sound. I do not want to lose this great job. I do not want to rock the boat. If I brought a white noise machine in, would that help? We are not allowed to wear headphones. I have not told them of this sound issue in full. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I really want my job to be successful.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I suggest you get the apps White Noise by TMSoft and White Noise Market by TMSoft. Then try several different noises (or mixes of different noises). That will give you more flexibility than a single white noise machine.

      You may also need to ask for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      You could also seek treatment for your misophonia. Beware that the more you endure the agony of misophonia triggers, that it causes misophonia to become worse.

      Good luck.

  15. Leonard says:

    Hi Tom,
    First of all, I want to thank you for your great Website. I’m sure, it will help a lot of People to get a better life. In past, I tried to download your Misophonia Trigger Tamer App. But I couldn’t found the App in App Store. I handle a iPhone with iOS 9. Do I have to buy a Android device or is there a other Problem. Thank’s so much for your help!

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Unfortunately iOS9 caused the app to be intermittent, and several programmers were unsuccessful at fixing the problem. Apple also objects to an app changing the volume automatically, which is needed for the app. We are developing a Java app, which will run on PCs and Macs. We hope it will be available in September, 2017. To use the Trigger Tamer on a phone, you do need to buy an Android device. A good used Android phone can be as cheap at $30, and you don’t need to activate it so there is no monthly fee. I just bought a Samsung J1 (Verizon) on ebay for $29 with free shipping.

  16. Sonya says:

    I am a misophonia sufferer of 30+ years, and I am about to start emdr treatments with the hope that it might relieve some of the intensity of the misophonia. I don’t expect to get rid of it entirely but I was tormented in my family situation as a teenager: my alcoholic father forced us to eat together in silence every night. I feel I have misophonia with a healthy dose of PTSD from this, and since I have had other various traumas as well, I am hoping this will help. Looking on the internet I have seen one practice experimenting with emdr and misophonia but I don’t see any results. Do you have any knowledge of whether emdr has ever proven successful in lessening the intensity of misophonia?

    • Sonya says:

      I have heard of an occasional case where EMDR has helped misophonia. There are no studies that mention EMDR for misophonia. I wish you well. If the EMDR helps you PTSD, then you may also see a reduction in your misophonia. Anything that improves your overall wellness and well-being might reduce your misophonia severity. Please let me know how it works for you.

  17. Ellen Michnovicz says:

    Tom, I want to start a face-to-face misophonia support group in my area. Do you have any suggestions for me? How do I get the word out? What pitfalls should I avoid? etc…

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Hi Ellen,

      I think the social support can be very beneficial. I suggest you post to the Facebook groups and see if there are people in your area who want to participate.

      I think you should avoid excessive complaining about triggers and especially talk which paints the person making the trigger (or the trigger itself) as evil. Most triggers are normal, socially acceptable sounds/behaviors.

  18. Anouhak Baldwin says:

    Hi Mr. Tom: I am from Laos. First time in my life knowing about misophonia. Our daughter, now 9, is suffering from it. At first, she was so mad whenever her younger brother has a sniff. I thought it will go away but no. The worse part was when we were on the airplane from Manila (The Philippines) to Los Angeles, CA. It was 12 hours flights. And during the last 5 hours, she was crying loudly during 3 hours. She was very tired and trying to sleep but people coughed and other kids made noises. So it woke her up and she was out of control. It was not her brother’s sniffing anymore. It was so hard on all of us and after that I was looking into what is this thing. Now I believe it is misophonia.

    Talking to my daughter, she said the sniffing sounds bothered her at school as well but she could not act out as much as at home.

    Now we are in Ohio, visiting her grandma. She has been doing well so far but several times with her brother sniff and cough, it got her so mad that she tried to hit him and said mean things to him.

    Now that I read your page about Bose QC25. I am going to get it.

    But will she out grow of this misophonia ?

    Any medical treatment can help make it go away?

    We will go back to Laos this August so it is very scary to think about it.

    Pleas advise.

    Thank you in advance Mr. Tom.

    Regards,

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Bose QC25 headphones (and all noise cancelling headphones) do not block sniffing. The frequency is to high. Etymotic MC5 noise isolating headphones are much more effective. For a younger child, earmuff (ear protection) is good if the child wears earbud style headphones under the earmuffs. Adding noise is essential. I suggest the noise app, White Noise by TMSoft. There are lots of sounds and you can download many others from the free app, White Noise Market. There are no medical treatments for misophonia. Your daughter needs treatment for her misophonia, because misophonia generally does not go away – it gets worse with time.

  19. Jessie Bentley says:

    My daughter definitely has Misophonia. She is 10 and it started about a year ago and is getting worse. Where do I take her for help? Therapist? Pediatrician? We thought it was just a phase but it’s getting worse. We have some headphones we let her use but it isn’t enough to block out the “chewing” noises. It really is affecting her at school.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I suggest you see misophoniatreatment.com/treatment-providers. I (Tom Dozier) provide behavioral interventions for misophonia, am well as referrals to other treatment providers who can with with you online. We are very fortunate to have the internet and to be able to provide treatment for misophonia remotely.

  20. Adam A. says:

    Hi Tom, I am writing a paper for school about Misophonia and had a few questions about it.
    1. is it misophonia if you get triggered by a sound, but only if it’s from a certain person?
    2. do all triggers have to be organic, or can it come from something like and alarm clock. was wondering about this one because I hate the sound of alarm clocks to the point where I have to turn down the volume or mute the T.V. When I hear one on it.
    3. can you develop new triggers as time goes on, or are a person’s triggers set in stone
    4. Are there other forms of treatment other than playing the sound to get used to it?
    5. this ones vague, but are there any advancements in the understanding of misophonia

    • Tom Dozier says:

      1. Yes. Misophonia is a condition were specific stimuli (sometimes in specific settings) triggers an immediate response. See this conference presentation, Misophonia Phenomenology, Diagnostic Criteria, and Comorbidity https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316822210_Misophonia_Phenomenology_Diagnostic_Criteria_and_Comorbidity
      2. A trigger can be any stimulus. Chewing and breathing sounds are the most common, but there are visual triggers, olfactory triggers (smells) and vibration of the body triggers (like base through a wall that shakes you slightly, or someone bumping your desk). It can be sounds made by people, animals, machines — anything.
      3. Most people do develop new triggers. Triggers develop through experience. They appear to be conditioned stimuli which elicit a conditioned response.
      4. Yes. There are other forms of treatment, but most involve some contact with the trigger stimulus (but it can be through imagining or a greatly modified version of the trigger).
      5. I think we developing a good understanding of misophonia. See the recent presentation at the Sound Sensitivity Conference, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316822210_Misophonia_Phenomenology_Diagnostic_Criteria_and_Comorbidity

  21. Emma says:

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for all of your research and efforts in understanding and treating misophonia. I have many triggers – whistling, gum popping, knuckle cracking, etc. It’s not just from one person, so it would seem that I wouldn’t benefit from Trigger Taming. My question is, I have a new trigger that I’m actually not certain is misophonia related and would be interested to hear your perspective. We moved to a house by a busy street (unknowingly at the time), and now I cannot tolerate the sound of cars going by – mostly louder trucks and motorcycles. I do have a fight or flight response to it and am miserable since I’m home a lot and it’s pretty constant. Moving is not an option at this time and I’ve tried almost everything to reduce the noise (loud white noise machines, window treatments, etc). Do you think this is misophonia related, and if so, is there a particular treatment that you think would be most beneficial?

    Thank you,
    Emma

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The short answer is that it can be misophonia. If you are reacting to the sound because it IS annoying, then it may not be misophonia. See A-d and A-e in the proposed criteria for misophonia below.

      The Misophonia Institute recommends the following criteria for misophonia derived from Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric by Arjan Schroder, Nienke Vulink, and Damiaan Denys (2013).

      A. The presence or anticipation of a specific stimulus such as a sound, sight, or other stimulus (e.g. eating sounds, breathing sounds, machine sounds, hand movement, vibration), provokes an impulsive, aversive physical and emotional response which typically begins with irritation or disgust that quickly becomes anger. [ sources for different sensory modality triggers: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11]
      a. Although auditory and visual stimuli are the most common, the stimulus can be any sensory modality [4,6,7,8 plus clinical experience]
      b. The stimulus is a conditioned stimulus, which excludes responses in which the stimulus is unconditioned, eliciting an unconditioned physiological response (i.e. sensory over-responsiveness or sensory processing disorder) [2,3,4,6,12,13]
      c. Where a single occurrence or a small number of stimulus instances cause the default response [clarification that the stimulus elicits the response and this is not a response to persistent annoying stimuli]
      d. Where a minimal intensity instance of the stimulus will elicit the default response (e.g. low volume baby crying or quiet breathing). If a high intensity instance of the stimulus is necessary to elicit the response, then it does not support the diagnosis of misophonia, especially if the stimulus is uncomfortably loud or startling. [6,11 This is the distinction between SPD and misophonia]
      e. But not including stimuli that do not cause this response unless they signal other distressing stimuli (e.g. airplane noise indicating the noise will occur for the rest of the day) [6 and clinical experience. This is rare.]
      B. The stimulus elicits an immediate physical reflex response (skeletal or internal muscle action, sexual response, warmth, pain, or other physical sensation). Note the physical response cannot always be identified, but the presence of an immediate physical response may be used to more clearly identify the condition as misophonia. [2 This is a new item, not in Schroder]
      C. A moderate duration of the stimulus (e.g. 15 seconds) elicits general physiological arousal (e.g. sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension) [1,15 this is a new itme]
      D. Dysregulation of thoughts and emotions with rare but potentially aggressive outbursts. Aggressive outbursts may be frequent in children. [1,6,12,16,17, Schroder item B, plus]
      E. The primary negative emotion is later recognized as excessive, unreasonable, or disproportionate to the circumstances or the provoking stressor [16, rewording Schroder item C. It may be better to say, “The negative emotions” because it could also cover multiple emotions]
      F. The individual tends to avoid the misophonic situation, or if he/she does not avoid it, endures the misophonic stimulus situation with discomfort or distress [slight wording change for Schroder D].
      G. The individual’s emotional and physical experience, avoidance, and efforts to avoid cause significant distress or significant interference in the person’s day-to-day life. For example, it is difficult for the person to perform tasks at work, attend classes, participate in routine activities, or interact with specific individuals [slight rewording of Schroder E]
      H. The person’s response to specific stimuli are not better explained by another disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (e.g. disgust in someone with an obsession about contamination) or post-traumatic stress disorder (e.g. avoidance of stimuli associated with a trauma related to threatened death, serious injury or threat to the physical integrity of self or others) [slight rewording to Schroder F]

      References
      1. Edelstein, M., Brang, D., Rouw, R., & Ramachandran, V.S. (2013). Misophonia: Physiological investigations and case descriptions. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(296), 1-11. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00296
      2. Dozier, T. H., & Morrison, K. L. (in-press). Phenomenology of misophonia: Initial physical and emotional responses. American Journal of Psychology.
      3. Dozier, T. H. (2015). Counterconditioning treatment for misophonia. Clinical Case Studies. Published online before print January 20, 2015. doi: 10.1177/1534650114566924
      4. Dozier, T. H. (2015). Etiology, composition, development and maintenance of misophonia: A conditioned aversive reflex disorder. Psychological Thought, 8(1), 114–129, doi:10.5964/psyct.v8i1.132
      5. Dozier, T. H. (2015). Treating the initial physical reflex of misophonia with the neural repatterning technique: A counterconditioning procedure. Psychological Thought.
      6. Dozier, T. H. (2017). Understanding and overcoming misophonia: A conditioned aversive reflex disorder, 2nd Ed. Livermore, CA: Misophonia Treatment Institute.
      7. Dozier, T. H., (2017). What is misophonia, 2017. Presentation at the annual conference of the Misophonia Association, Las Vegas, NV.
      8. Dozier, T. H., (2017). Misophonia phenomenology and comorbidity. Presentation at the Sound Sensitivity Conference of the Tinnitus Practitioners Association, Dallas, TX.
      9. Johnson, P. L., Webber, T. A., Wu, M. S., Lewin, A. B., Murphy, T. K., & Storch, E. A. (2013). When selective audiovisual stimuli become unbearable: A case series on pediatric misophonia. Neuropsychiatry, 3(6), 569-575.
      10. Bernstein, R. E., Angell, K. L., & Dehle, C. M. (2013). A brief course of cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment of misophonia: A case example. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 6(10), 1-13. doi:10.1017/S1754470X13000172
      11. Claiborn, J. M., Dozier, T. D., Hart, S. L., & Jaehoon L. (in-review). Misophonia phenomenology, impact, and clinical correlates.
      12. Jastreboff, M. M., & Jastreboff, P. J. (2002). Decreased sound tolerance and tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). Australian and New Zealand Journal of Audiology, 24(2), 74-84. doi:10.1375/audi.24.2.74.3110
      13. Jastreboff, M.M., & Jastreboff, P.J. (2014). Treatments for decreased sound tolerance (hyperacusis and misophonia). Seminars in Hearing 35(2), 105-120. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1372527
      14. Kumar, S., (2015). Neurobiological bases of misophonia. Presentation at the annual conference of the Misophonia Association, Chicago, IL.
      15. Kumar, S., Hancock, O., Cope, T., Sedley, W., Winston, J., & Griffiths, T. D. (2014). Misophonia: A disorder of emotion processing of sounds. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 85(8), e3. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2014-308883.38
      16. Schröder, A., Vulink, N., & Denys, S. (2013). Misophonia: Diagnostic criteria for a new psychiatric disorder. PLoS ONE 8, e54706. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054706
      17. Wu, M. S., Lewin, A. B., Murphy, T. K. & Storch, E. A. (2014). Misophonia: Incidence, phenomenology, and clinical correlates in an undergraduate student sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(10),1-14. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22098

  22. Paul Brennan says:

    Tom, as a psychologist I’m a bit perplexed by “don’t try exposure therapy”. It sounds like you mean “don’t try the type of exposure therapy that involves full intensity”. But this is only one type of exposure (and is more usually called “flooding”). I would do exposure with very low volume or even imaginary sounds, or even just words that describe the sounds. Note that CBT, mindfulness, relaxation all involve exposure to your own thoughts, feelings and body response so strictly speaking there is no therapy without some kind of exposure. Apart from that, great site!

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Paul, you are absolutely correct. I corrected this in 2nd edition of Understanding and Overcoming Misophonia, which was released on March 16th, 2017. It seems that the problem has occurred where therapists produce real, full-strength triggers, and expect the person to habituate to the stimulus. There is something about real-world, full-strength triggers that generally increases the severity of the misophonic response. Most of the content of this site are the chapters of the first edition of Understanding and Overcoming Misophonia. Your post has motivated me to change that page of this website right away. If you look at the Neural Repatterning Technique, it is a form of exposure, but with a highly reduced trigger stimulus.

  23. Mary says:

    My son is 13 years old. Onset was 12. I am his only trigger. Could he have miso if I am the only trigger that causes severe reactions?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Absolutely! Your son can have misophonia. Misophonia usually starts with one specific trigger and then other triggers are added. If your son is having severe reactions to your voice, breathing, or eating (or other sound), but only when you make it, it is probably misophonia. The Neural Repatterning Technique can be used for triggers that are only caused by one source (person). The quicker you take action, the more likely you are to make significant improvement, including the possibility of completely eliminating his misophonic reactions.

  24. Carol McCarron says:

    Dear Tom
    My name is Carol and i have suffered with this horrible condition since I was 8 years old. It started where I could not eat in the same room as my mom. Im 51 years old now and the condition just keeps getting worse. I have alienated myself from so many people over the years. Its the sound of chewing, breathing ,snoring and muffled noises that affect me. Also certain movements from other people. Like petting a dog or rubbing ones feet together. I have been married for 29 years and have never slept in the same room as my husband. It has within the past 5 years affect me at my job. My father suffered from it. My daughter and my niece suffer from it. I cant eat with anyone. I have to eat in a room by myself. I cant sit in the living room with anyone. My husband resents the fact that I have this condition. He wants a divorce. He claims this has gotten so out of hand that he refuses to live like this anymore. I am becoming more and more isolated from the world.The stress, rage and anger I feel evertime I hear or see a trigger is unbeerable. Sometimes it gets so bad that I think about hurting the offender. I would really appreciate any help or suggestions you can offer. I live in South Eastern Pennsylvania and can not find a doctor who can help me with Misophonia. Thank you

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia is a horrible condition that can be very debilitating (as you have experienced). MisophoniaTreatment.com has more of a focus on treatment options and providers. On average, treatment will reduce misophonia severity by 50% (or more). We can work with you by internet video-chat. If you are interested in seeking treatment, email tom@misophoniatreatment.com for more information.

      The first session with Tom Dozier covers assessment/management/treatment-options. It costs $150, but there is also a hardship rate. Follow-on treatment may be with Tom or another treatment provider based on the treatment you choose. Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy has promising results and can also be provided by video-chat.

  25. Reanna J. says:

    Dear Tom,
    I am 17 years old and just recently figured out that I have Misophonia. It’s really bad. It’s gotten to the point where it’s effecting my family and friends. I do not act out aggressively, but do get upset when I hear chewing or repetitive noises.I have very sensitive ears and I don’t know why. I have Googled different kinds of therapies and ways to help, but don’t really know….please help..

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Hi Reanna. Misophonia is a difficult condition. We have a team who provide treatment for misophonia. You can email tom@misophoniatreatment. We provide treatment for misophonia by internet video-chat. The treatments do not eliminate misophonia, but we generally expect a 50% reduction in misophonia severity, along with ways to manage the condition to minimize the risk of new triggers and worsening of existing ones.

  26. Esther Schwartz says:

    Hi. Can I download the trigger tamer to a regular windows laptop and use it on the laptop? We don’t own a smart phone. Thank you!

  27. Amy says:

    Hi Mr. Dozier,

    Is there any chance that the Sequent Repatterning Hypnotherapy could be used on a very bright 8 year old?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      It is possible. You and your daughter should meet with a Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapist and see if she has the emotional maturity and focus needed for this treatment.

  28. Esther Schwartz says:

    Thank you for your very well written and organized website! My eleven year old daughter fits the description of a sufferer of this disorder! My question is: how can I explain it to her in terms understandable to her. I don’t want her to feel that there is something wrong with her (she already struggles in school with learning issues and is self conscious about her weight). Also, which treatment do you recommend? Right now her only trigger is my breathing and chewing, and her sisters’ breathing. School does not seem to be a problem (yet).

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I suggest you read the “Taking about Misophonia” page and “What Is Misophonia?” page to explain to your daughter.

      It depends on your daughter’s initial physical response, as to how you should proceed with treatment. This will be the easiest time to reduce or eliminate these triggers. Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy may be very helpful. Because she only has 3 triggers (your breathing and chewing, and sisters breathing), the Neural Repatterning Technique (Trigger Tamer) might work very well. Both are explained on this website. Those would be my top 2 treatment choices, but I cannot be sure without and assessment.

      We are here to help.

  29. Julia says:

    Hello Tom, I have a question about the trigger tamer app. How often per day do you recommend listening to the app and for how long? And is it correct that while listening to the app the trigger is supposed to be so quick that I don’t get triggered (don’t feel the anger)?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      You are correct that you should not feel anger when you are using the Trigger Tamer app. The trigger should cause an instant, tiny jolt to your body. You should notice it, but as soon as the trigger is over, it should go away. You may feel a tiny bit of irritation or disgust, but nothing like you experience with a real trigger.

      I generally recommend using the Trigger Tamer 30 minutes a day, but you can use it more if it is not irritating. One of the first people to use the app would listen to music at work with the app, with triggers interspersed. He would listen for several hours at work. If you do this, you probably want the trigger to occur every 2 or 3 minutes. This is just an expert guess, as we have no data on this. Look at the words on the top of the treatment screen. It says, “Happy Time” which is a requirement for the app to be effective at reducing your misophonic response.

      • Julia says:

        Thanks for your reply. For some reason when I listened to the app I didn’t really feel anything bad (not even a tiny jolt) when I heard the trigger (in real life I still get triggered though) but maybe I haven’t recorded the trigger sound well enough, I will check u pon that. Do you know how long (weeks, months, years) it took some of the people who used this app to feel less triggered? I am highly motivated to use this app. Unfortunately I sometimes lack discipline to really listen to it every day.

  30. Kristie Jordan says:

    I have not read the book or all of these comments, but has any research been done on the incidence of miso being tied to the mother using anti-depressants during pregnancy? I think some research is now coming out that indicates a link to antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism…although miso is not autism, it is similar in the fact that some peeps with autism have certain sensitivities. Just curious since I took an anti depressant during pregnancy before any of the negative stuff about it was out. Although I have another daughter I took anti depressants with and she does not have any sound sensitivity issues….nor any other obvious issues.

  31. jerome says:

    Hi, I think to have Misophonia becouse when I hear snorting sound I get really angry and so I have few questions.
    Do I have Misophonia?
    Can I treat it with trigger tamer app, and if not are there other ways to heal from Misophonia?
    Please answer me becouse this is really destroying my life.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      This sounds like misophonia. The Trigger Tamer app may be appropriate, especially if you only have 1 trigger person.

  32. Lauren says:

    I’m a mental health provider working with a patient to have school accommodations met at a university. The example one on your website was very helpful but it designed for K-12. Do you have any example ones for college accommodations or advice about working with a university for a student’s accommodations for misophonia? I already submitted a report with suggested accommodations similar to the example here, but the university did not include most of my recommendations in the approved accommodations for this student, such as having a trigger free testing environment with no eating/gum chewing. The university feels this is too difficult to accommodate since they have other students that must eat during testing for their medical accommodations and they want to test all of the accommodated students in the same room. They do not feel these are reasonable accommodations to request. Any suggestions for helping this student?

  33. Nina says:

    Hi Tom, My 10 year old son has misophonia, he is particularly triggered by chewing noises which cause rage and upset. It began with his sister´s and father´s chewing noises but now it appears he cannot tolerate any noisy eaters. We watched a film the other day with a giant that ate noisily and he found this very hard and had to block his ears and look away. He did not leave the cinema though and did manage it better than he would have done hearing eating noises at home. He also manages to sit through lunch in the school canteen without incident, he claims he doesn´t sit next to noisy eaters there. I think he is now becoming triggered visually as well. I am wondering if we should purchase the Trigger Tamer App or whether you think his trigger is too general and the app would therefore not work. He was so delighted when I said there was an app that might help him but having read more I´m worried that it wouldn´t have any effect. Would it be worth a try? Can you please advise me?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I think his triggers are too general for the Trigger Tamer app. There are other treatments, such as Sequent Repatterning or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But you need to work with someone who has experience and is willing to share their success rate with their method of treatment.

  34. Magdalena says:

    Hi! I’m pretty sure I have Misophonia, but I am not 100% positive. I go to a place called Theraplay to help with my sound sensitivities (I think I’m a type 2 but my daddy says I’m a type three). Many sounds bother me, including typing, chewing, peeling vegetables, chopping, people doing the dishes, cats licking, showering and many other sounds. At my theraplay, my therapist has me work on core strength, but sometimes she has me listen to the sounds that I don’t like (my parents will record sounds of them chewing, doing the dishes ect.). I briefly read through the comments, and I noticed that you said a couple of times that if the person listen to the sounds they don’t like, the Misophonia will get worse. I already have one visual trigger, cats licking. I’m wondering if this is because my Therapist made me listen to a lot of cat licking sounds? She says, that if I listen to the sounds while doing a cognitive task that I like, my brain will retrain itself to not flip when I hear those sounds. Is she wrong? Even though I think I have Misophonia, why I’m hesitating to full out say that I have Misophonia, is because I can contain myself when I’m not with my parents. I’ll be at my friends how, and we’ll have dinner, and I’ll still not like the sounds, but I don’t yell and scoot my chair farther away from them. When I’m just with my friend somewhere I’ll tell them to stop smacking their gum, but that’s about it. My point is that I only react at home, but the sounds still bug me. It’s really hard to be a twelve-year-old with Misophonia. I’ve had it for a couple of years, and it’s made me very miserable. I have a teacher who types during silent reading, and it sounds just like my moms (I hate the sound of my mom typing). It makes me cover my ears during reading, and even if I cover them, my hands get tired and I can’t focus. Do you have any suggestions on how to cope with her typing during reading? Should my therapist keep making me listen to those sounds, or is she making it worse?

  35. Faith says:

    hello!! im fifteen years old and have suffered with misophonia for many years now. it’s become such a problem for me. i’ve grown a hatred towards school because of all of the gum chewing going on. i need help, but i dont know where to start.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I suggest you talk to your parents and together watch the video, Misophonia, What Is It? You are entitled to a 504 plan. You can use headphones in school and a number of other things to make school bearable.

      You are not alone. If your parents do not listen, talk to the counselor at school. Keep talking until you get the help you need.

  36. Lisa says:

    How is it that people with misophonia can stand the sound of their own chewing when they eat, yet can’t sit at a dinner table for fear they might hear normal chewing noises during a meal?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia is a reflex response. Some things others do trigger us, but it is different when we do it. For example, most people can not tickle their self. From a reflex standpoint, it would be expected that the sound of one’s own chewing would not be a trigger.

  37. Joss Glenn says:

    Are there any research facilities where can volunteer myself as a research subject?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      There are various research studies, but you usually need to replay to an announcement of the study to be admitted. You could try contacting individuals who have published journal articles on misophonia and see if they have any open studies. We have one which is in the IRB approval process at this time. We will post the announcement and request for participants on this website, and on the Facebook groups such as Misophonia Treatment and Management.

  38. CS says:

    On the ‘What is Misophonia’ page the following is mentioned: “There are reports of individuals with stomach, intestine, or esophagus constriction, urge to urinate, or a sexual sensation.” But I could not find any further information regarding that last physical reflex issue of ‘a sexual sensation’. For many years I have experienced a sensation similar to insects crawling over my genitals when I felt threatened by the presence of people who I felt exhibited predatory sexual behaviors (intentionally or not) toward myself or others. The only explanation I have had for this is that a perhaps it is a strong emotion manifesting itself as a physical sensation. Could this actually be linked to misophonia? The audio or visual cue of seeing/hearing such persons has been linked by my lizard brain to a need for a freeze, fight, or flight response. Please let me know where I can find more information about this, if it’s available, and thank you for your time.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I cannot point you to any research on this, but it seems very similar to a visual misophonia trigger. My research indicates misophonia is a conditioned physical reflex – a Pavlovian reflex response to a common stimulus. In your case, you probably have some history with sexual predators. The sensation is likely a natural response which occurred at one of those times. It isn’t related to freeze, fight, or flight, because these are unlearned (innate) responses. This is likely a learned response that will not extinguish.

      Do you have strong emotions from these experiences (anger or disgust)? If so, it meets my definition for misophonia — a common stimulus causes a physical reflex response which causes anger/disgust emotions.

  39. Sheila Naderhoff says:

    Hi Tom, in doing research I think I have Miso and Hyperacusus. Dr’s have never heard of my triggers before. When I am around loud music for extended period of time I end up with what the Urgent care Dr called Seizure TYPE symptoms. I’m not having seizures had MRI, MRA …. 2 yr of tests. I lose concentration, walk like I’m drunk, get very aggregated, I have to leave or it gets worse. Bass from cars, Kids screaming, a bunch of people talking at the same time, plus some of the common triggers. Do you think I am right in my diagnosis and have you found any foods to be triggers?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I do not know any cases where foods are misophonic triggers. But I have seen all sorts of physical reflexes from misophonia. I met one person who had a burning sensation as his physical reflex. It may be possible that your body is producing a little bit of some hormone each time you are triggered, and the accumulation of the hormone cause the “drunk” behavior. How long does the effect last once you leave the trigger situation? Who long are you agitated after you leave? If you have misophonia, it is a unique manifestation of the condition. I cannot say if you do or do not have misophonia. Hyperacusis causes pain in the ears when exposed to loud noises, and it can be accurately diagnosed by an audiologist.

      • Sheila Naderhoff says:

        Thank you Tom for responding. It can take a day or two for the “drunk” behavior to stop. If I can’t get out of the situation and I go into a full blown episode it takes 3 days.

  40. Rhanda Frangie says:

    Tom,

    My 13 year old son has so many triggers, it is stressful to be around him and he often chooses to stay home alone instead of joining in family outings. His triggers sound typical (smacking, all eating noises, the “s” leftover when singing or whispering, any singing (except his favorite bands), whistling, and oddly, when I twirl my hair around my finger as I drive in the car, he’ll quickly bring to my attention that I need to stop, or, I’ll hear stomping noises from him in the back seat taking his frustrations out on the car floor. THE QUESTIONS IS: how much should his triggers be avoided and accommodated? When anyone oppresses his company with extreme requests to NOT do many of the simple joys in life, it does feel like I am setting a bad precedence of intolerance for anyone in his future, let alone his issues in classrooms and other public places. Those in his ear shot (or even visual field) are on edge trying not to set him off. My side of the family has a few members (myself included) who show signs of misophonia, but none as pronounced as his). He is a witty, intelligent and sensitive young man, but is calling all the rules with social situations, forcing me to warn people of his many triggers, making tense situations of simple gatherings.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      In general, forcing a person to endure triggers strengthens the emotional and initial physical reflex, so in the future, his response will be worse. Secondly, forcing a person to endure triggers can cause other sounds and sights present to become new triggers. So forcing him to endure triggers will make his miso-response worse and increase the number of triggers. I suggest you provide a way for him to not experience triggers, such as noise cancelling or noise isolating headphones. Visual triggers are harder to manage.

  41. Rathernot Say says:

    Tom Dozier thank you for studying this. I’m an extreme sufferer of misophonia. My sister has been helping me research the issue. She thinks that I underwent some type of extreme trauma in my childhood and that I have suppressed memories. She thinks that hypnotherapy would really help me. Is misophonia acquired through trauma? Does hypnotherapy help? How often do you encounter suppressed memories with your patients? I have so many blanks in my past that I think this is possible for me.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia is acquired through pairing of sounds (which become triggers) and stress. Usually there is no trauma. Regular hypnotherapy usually provides short term improvement, but only very short term. There is a treatment developed specifically for misophonia called Sequent Repatterning Hypnotherapy. It is an 8-week sequential treatment. It reduces misophonia approximately by 50% (on average) and the reduction in misophonia is about the same 6 months later. See http://misophoniainstitute.org/hypnotherapy-srt/

  42. Dear Doctor Dozier

    I needed help with this one. I suffer from Misophonia symptoms all day everyday such as tapping, chewing, eating, people breathing, computer keys and lots more and this keeps making my toes cringe in a way and my neck jerks without me wanting it to and I my question is do I have Misophonia or the symptoms or is that just normal in a sense. I’ve asked for help with it with NHS but they said to me it’s a phase but it doesn’t feel like that, it makes me think hateful things about friends, family and just others, lash out, throw things and cry sometimes. But what I wanted to ask you was what do you think, is it a phase or something else

    George S

    • Tom Dozier says:

      First… I am not a doctor. I am an applied behavior scientist. What you describe is misophonia. Misophonic triggers cause a physical reflex. In your case, you are perceptive and recognize the physical reflex to triggers. Your lizard brain hears a trigger and contracts the muscles (toes, neck, or both). It is like you are getting zapped with a mini taser, but it is your Lizard Brain that is doing it. This is explained in more detail on page http://misophoniainstitute.org/hidden-truth-misophonia/

      Progressive muscle relaxation (see misophoniatreatment.com/pmr) can be helpful if you do it every day. You need to learn to relax your muscles. It takes lots of work, but is worth it. Do PMR every day for a month and see how it helps you. It is the best free treatment for misophonia.

  43. Monica Hoffmann says:

    Dear Doctor Dozier, My Grandson, Tyler, is now 23years old and has HF Autism, He did well in school and wanted to go to County College and continue his studies. His exposure to another disabled student
    that screamed at Tyler and others caused his sound sensitivity to become worse. He cannot tolerate screaming children and babies. He had been doing well at county college but when encountering crying and screaming child he would run away blindly “fright and flight”. He becomes very aggressive. and has to be restrained He has been housebound for over a year and is very depressed. He has other noises he cannot tolerate. His Mother tells him, he has to control the noise. I have taken care of Tyler for three years and he lived with me most of the time. He misses school and I don’t know how to help him. Mom is a single Mom and has another son, Jordan, he has ADHD. I am hoping you can help Tyler, his young life is passing him by. Best Regards, Monica Hoffmann

    • Tom Dozier says:

      First… I am not a doctor. I am an applied behavior scientist who has worked on misophonia for 4 years.

      I think you should consider Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy for misophonia. It is discussed under the “Treatment” tab. Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy can be provided by internet video chat. This is similar to another case where the individual with ASD had a very strong response to triggers.

  44. Gary Lake says:

    Hi Tom
    I know I’ve had misophonia for about 18 years now. I can almost pinpoint the series of events that made me painfully aware.

    I have two major triggers, sniffling and repeated (over loud) throat clearing.
    I’ve actually requested to be moved at work because a hearing impaired co-worker does this open mouth throat clearing thing I can’t even describe (haaaa….ahhhhhhhkkkkkk)…andhe has no idea how loud it is. His allergies has me considering other jobs.

    On a somewhat contrary note, do suffers ever report triggers that are exceedingly pleasurable?
    For instance the sound someone turning pages of a newspaper (or book with crispy pages) makes me almost euphoric.
    Likewise a man’s low melodic whistling of a tune is entrancing to me. It’s in complete opposition to the negative triggers.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      The positive responses to triggers that you describe are called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). I don’t think it is related to misophonia.

  45. Rob Stark says:

    My daughter has misophonia and is working very hard to keep it under control but at 15, it is tough. She uses her headphones while we eat and it seems to help. I’m looking into getting her to see an audiologist and hope it provides relief for her. My question is this, at what age can misophonia start? She never slept well as a baby and cried often, driving her mother and I crazy during the nights because, obviously, we didn’t get a lot of sleep either. She eventually stopped crying so much and started sleeping better but maybe she learned to sooth herself. I wonder if she had it as a baby and that was what was causing the lack of sleep and sheer anger in her?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      From my research and working with patients, misophonia is a conditioned response to specific sounds. That means that it develops through experience. A new sound would not be a trigger, but if the person hears the sound under the right conditions (and these conditions include what is happening in the person’s body) then that sound can become a trigger.

      It seems highly unlikely to me that the problem of sleeping through the night was related to misophonia in any way. In her room, she was not being exposed to trigger sounds, so even if she did develop misophonia at an early age (say 3-6 months), it is very likely that she was not being triggered in her room. But her natural sensitivities, distress, lack of self-soothing could have let to the development of misophonia at a later age.

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