Excruciating Condition ‘Misophonia’ Could Destroy Your Relationship

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Have you ever been irked by a partner’s loud chewing or a sibling’s peculiar breathing habits? Nearly one in five adults worldwide experience it, and it is referred to as the “phobia of specific sounds.” Let’s dive into the curious world of misophonia, exploring whether it’s their issue or something you might need to decode within yourself.

Navigating the Impact of Misophonia

Commonly known as sound rage, misophonia is a condition that triggers negative reactions to various sounds, ranging from chewing and swallowing to sniffing and slurping. It goes beyond mere annoyance, evoking a fight-or-flight response that sparks the urge to escape and a surge of anger. As a genuine disorder, it has the potential to significantly impact one’s ability to navigate social settings.

Dr. Jane Gregory, a clinical psychologist at the University of Oxford, sheds light on misophonia as “decreased tolerance to certain sounds.” Collaborating on an upcoming scientific paper from King’s College London, she reveals that a staggering 18% of adults in the UK grapple with this condition. Dr. Gregory emphasizes that sound triggers are typically repetitive and not necessarily tied to volume or acoustic patterns.

How to Cope

Interestingly, it’s the representation of the sound to the individual that matters. Eating sounds top the list of reported annoying sounds, closely followed by throat sounds. Despite these statistics, only 14% of the UK’s population is aware of misophonia, a fact Dr. Gregory attributes to the difficulty of discussing it with loved ones.

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Misophonia is a serious matter, with Dr. Gregory citing instances where relationships ended or individuals moved multiple times to escape triggering neighbors. To cope, the specialist suggests practical strategies such as introducing background noise, taking breaks to focus on deep breaths, and diverting attention from the noise. She even recommends employing cognitive-behavioral therapy by sticking it out and reminding oneself why they appreciate or love the person despite the challenges posed by misophonia.