What is Misophonia?
Misophonia is a recently proposed disorder characterized by extreme sensitivity to “patterned based sounds.”
It was termed in 2001 by Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff of Emory University.
Reactivity to aversive sounds includes heightened autonomic nervous system and negative emotional arousal. Pattern based auditory stimuli often cluster around noises that are generated by others (e.g., other people’s chewing, smacking lips, or tapping fingers). However, aversive noises reported have also included mechanical noises (e.g. air-conditioners, refrigerator humming, and noises emanating by pets). In addition, some individuals with Misophonia report autonomic arousal with the accompanying physical and emotional correlates upon presentation of repetitive visual stimuli (e.g. seeing another person shaking their leg,).
The research on Misophonia is in its infancy. However, auditory stimuli is a noted symptom in a variety of other neurological, developmental, psychiatric, and auditory processing disorders and syndromes (e.g., Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, migraine headaches, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Schizophrenia, Fragile X Syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive and Compulsive Related Disorders, and more).
The underlying causes of Misophonia are unknown, although there are numerous areas of speculation, most of which concern aberrant associations between auditory pathways in the brain and the amygdala (which mediates the fight/flight response).
Misophonia may have multiple causes. There are no verified treatments yet, but research is underway and suffering individuals are encouraged to reach out for support. (Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferjodr?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile)
The International Misophonia Research Network (IMNR, misophonia-research.com) is an informational website formed by Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout, a seasoned advocate who has been at the forefront of sound sensitivity research for 19 years. The purpose of IMRN is to provide quality control through learning and resources, as well as connecting researchers and sufferers for the purpose of forming a collective community to both better understand and self-generate funding for research for Misophonia. IMRN has an esteemed advisory board consisting of neuroscientists and other doctors. “IMRN consists of sufferers and doctors working together to support science that leads to treatment and better practice standards through the dissemination of qualified and understandable information.”
Misophonia International is an internationally based news site founded by Shaylynn Hayes, a 22-year-old Misophonia sufferer and author of Full of Sound and Fury. It is updated daily with stories written by sufferers and doctors, and includes interviews with parents of children with Misophonia, doctors and therapists, as well as articles about tips for coping with Misophonia, and much more. It is a really exciting news site and Ms. Hayes does a wonderful job, continually coming up with fresh and new ideas to make a Misophonia sufferer feel a part of a community that cares. The site is connected to social media support groups, social media sites, a quarterly magazine and has a lot to offer.
facebook.com/groups/SENetwork.SOUNDandSENSE/ is a Facebook group in which both researchers and sufferers discuss Misophonia and related research that is connected with IMRN.
Misophonia Association is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that raises money for research and education about Misophonia, founded by dedicated audiologist Marsha Johnson. Ms. Johnson is an astute clinician who is highly knowledgable regarding Misophonia, and has been pivotal in developing conceptualizations of the disorder. There is a lot of free downloadable information, but there is a fee to become a member. The association has yearly conferences.
AllergicToSound.com is a wonderful United Kingdom based website developed and run by a Misophonia sufferer. It includes great resources for research, articles from a personal perspective and opinion pieces that are very witty and enjoyable to read. This website is very current with it’s information and the author maintains a very positive attitude about Misophonia.
facebook.com/groups/positivemiso is a support group formed specifically for “Positive Support” for those with Misophonia. In reaction to a great deal of negativity arising in other support groups, this group was started with the idea that although Misophonia may be impairing, sufferers should be able to support each other in a safe environment. This is the only Misophonia support group on Facebook seeking out mental health specialists to train for peer support.
facebook.com/groups/620276931320095 is an excellent support group run by a group of parents who have children with Misophonia. The administrators take great care to maintain the integrity of the group and it is truly an excellent place for parents.
facebook.com/groups/misoyouth is the only support group for youth and teens with Misophonia. It is administrated by a young adult, Ms. Blau Bockstiegal, who takes care to make sure this is a safe community for youth.