If you have ever heard the sound of nails on a chalkboard you know it is not a pleasant experience. Take that same feeling you get from nails on a chalkboard and amplify it by 50 now you can start to understand what people with Misophonia deal with on a daily basis. Most of the population including some doctors do not even know what Misophonia is.
Misophonia is a rare sensory disorder/psychological abnormality that causes extreme negative reactions to certain sounds. These sounds or triggers evoke a fight or flight response within the person affected by Misophonia. These triggers are normally just "everyday human sounds" which makes living with it so difficult. Some of the trigger sounds include but are not limited to sniffing, gum chewing, tongue, clicking, lip smacking, and throat clearing. Just think about having to go through your normal day but having to avoid all of the above-mentioned sounds. It's not just face-to-face interactions that can trigger Misophonia. Think about all of your favorite shows that have a scene where somebody is chewing gum, clicking their pen, or sniffing, people suffering from Misophonia cannot enjoy these shows or movies because of the fear and anxiety they provoke. Misophonia is not a commonly recognized disease, in fact, most doctors misdiagnose Misophonia patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or an Anxiety Disorder. Because Misophonia is not common knowledge among the public and the medical community there is very little research about Misophonia and how many people are actually affected by the disease. What professionals currently know is that Misophonia is most commonly found in girls, and people with higher IQs, researchers also believe that there is a genetic link but further testing needs to be done to confirm this theory. There is also no cure for Misophonia. People who suffer from Misophonia just have to most simply deal with it; this includes wearing noise-canceling headphones, isolating yourself, meditation, anti-anxiety medication, and therapy.
You may at this point be asking yourself why I care so much about Misophonia and why I wished more people knew about its existence. My best friend has Misophonia she was diagnosed whenever she was 14 but her triggers started whenever she was 12 she is now 18. Throughout my years of being friends with her I have seen her suffer on a daily basis, her triggers are sniffing and gum chewing. Every day in at least one class there will be a kid chewing gum or sniffing instead of using a tissue. She will ask those kids to please spit out their gum or offer them a tissue, some people say sure no problem or thank you for the tissue. Some people, however, give her a look like she is crazy and keeps on doing the triggering behavior. It is not just in school, it is everywhere, at the mall, the movie theater, on the radio, at sports practice. Imagine wanting to go to the movies with your friends but having to heavily research the movie to check for triggers and trying to find out the least crowded time to go so the chances of another person causing your triggers is lessened.
My hope is that everybody who has taken the time to read this article has learned the basics about Misophonia and will share their newfound knowledge with somebody they know. The more awareness Misophonia receives the more research will be done and hopefully, medical professionals and researchers can find a cure so people will no longer have to suffer in silence on a daily basis. I honestly do not know how my best friend can stand so strong throughout her daily suffering. So please, I ask you to be aware of this disorder/abnormality and if somebody asks you to stop making a sound, no matter how normal you think it may be, you respect them.
Below are some links that delve deeper into Misophonia: