Do You Feel Anxious Or Upset In Response To Certain Sounds?
For those with misophonia, certain sounds are a major issue. These trigger sounds can come in a variety of forms, from snoring to a tapping foot. You may find yourself cringing when you hear someone chew food or whistle. Or you may want to disengage from a situation to escape a certain sound, even if you’re with people you care about.
For children, this can interrupt their schooling and cause issues with their relationships. Your child may grow angry or distressed when a classmate taps a pencil on their desk, or they may start to feel overwhelmed when chalk screeches on a chalkboard. They may even struggle with sounds you make, which can lead to them distancing themselves from you.
For adults, misophonia can create struggles in the workforce and in everyday activities. You may feel a sense of anxiety when going to work because you know you’ll run into certain triggers. Your misophonia may disrupt otherwise fun activities, such as going to the movies. And you may have even started isolating yourself from others for fear of having to deal with one of your triggers.
At its worst, misophonia can create a connection between the trigger sound and the individual causing it. This can lead to you having negative feelings towards the person instead of just the sound itself, which can deteriorate relationships with the ones you love. At this point, you would probably love to take control of your misophonia, both to protect your precious relationships and to finally enjoy life.
If You’re Struggling With Misophonia, You’re Not Alone
While misophonia is traditionally considered a rare condition, recent research has shown that it may be more common than most people think. Researchers have found that up to 22% of the population has reactions that are symptomatic of misophonia, whether these are related to sound alone or other sensations. Misophonia can sometimes be misdiagnosed as anxiety, bipolar disorder, or something similar, meaning many people suffer in silence.
People with misophonia are similar to their peers in every other way except for their reaction to triggers in regards to certain sounds. It happens because of over-myelination of certain pathways in the brain that are related to emotional processing and responses. And this causes the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system—or the fight-or-flight response—to activate in response to stimuli you wouldn’t normally have a reaction to, such as certain sounds.
Misophonia can cause a great deal of distress for those who have it, as many people will outright avoid the sources of their triggers. It becomes even more problematic because few treatments are available since very little research has been done on the subject.
However, there is still hope. By combining the currently available misophonia treatments with the teachings of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, we may have found a method to help lessen the symptoms of your misophonia.
Reduce Misophonia Symptoms With A Comprehensive Therapy Approach
Current methods for treating misophonia are two-fold. First, they involve using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help teach you how to handle your trigger sounds. Second, they use various sounds in the environment to help cover triggers so that they are less distressing to you.
Incorporating the Tomatis method allows me to take the above steps further by retraining the manner in which your brain processes sounds in the primary auditory cortex and reshaping how it relates to misophonia symptoms. In addition to retraining your sound perception with the goal to reduce sound sensitivity we will also address interpersonal dynamics, and further coping strategies using CBT to facilitate a life that’s more connected.
I will start by performing an assessment to determine your level of processing abilities and how these might relate to your misophonia experience. After that, we will discuss treatment options and create a plan to treat your misophonia symptoms that is centered around your unique situation.
By combining cognitive behavioral therapy, the Tomatis method, and inter-personal dynamic approaches, we can help retrain how your brain processes sound. This will allow you to begin learning tolerance to the trigger sounds. For example, you will learn different options for responding to sounds than your familiar “fight or flight” response. First, I will introduce various strategies in our sessions that can help you regulate how certain sounds are perceived. Then, I will also ask you to practice these strategies in between sessions. In time, this will dampen the effect of the sympathetic nervous system, and you will be able to decide whether or not to react to a sound, rather than reacting automatically.
Pierre Sollier, 2005
This approach to misophonia treatment will also help you begin to separate the sound that triggers your upset from the individual making these sounds. You will become more proficient at isolating the sound and train your brain to view it and the person who is making it as two different things, therefore, taking away some of the potential strain on relationships.
My practice also collaborates with other practitioners to help clients get the best care possible. For example, we might discuss naturopathic options depending on the degree of your reactivity.
I have spent over twenty years working with children with misophonia and about ten years working with adults. Since little research has been done on the disorder, I decided to start doing research on my own—not only so that I personally can better understand this disorder, but also so that the profession as a whole can better understand it. Because I have training in both the psychological and physiological workings of the brain, I am equipped to offer numerous solutions to a single problem.
Misophonia is an little-understood disorder, and in reality, your symptoms will not fully go away. However, in my professional experience, they can be significantly lessened. By attending therapy, you can eventually take back control from your symptoms and live a healthier, more connected life.
You might still have questions about misophonia and auditory intervention…
If there isn’t a lot of research on misophonia, then how do I know therapy will help?
Misophonia is a very complex issue, and due of how little-known and even misunderstood it is, it’s comprehensible that you may have doubts. However, we utilize methods that work with certain components of misophonia, and we have seen numerous individuals improve with these methods. We have more than one avenue to teach you how to relax your sympathetic nervous system while also retraining your sound perception. In addition, we will address inter-personal dynamics with your family and colleagues, since there are integral parts of therapy when working with individuals with misophonia.
How can you treat something with sound?
Auditory intervention is one of the key components of misophonia treatment. As we’re facing a presentation that is mostly triggered by specific auditory perception sensitivities, including a sound stimulation approach to help retrain the brain is an important aspect of treatment. This, along with the other interventions mentioned above, seem to make the most difference for those experiencing misophonia.
What if therapy doesn’t work out?
We make a point of collaborating with many different practitioners who offer other avenues of treatment. In addition, we assess along the therapy process in a very systematic manner. If it seems that you are not getting as much traction from our therapy as you should, we will insure prompt and appropriate referrals.
Learn More About Misophonia Treatment
If you would like to learn more about how our multifaceted intervention and the Tomatis method can help reduce your misophonia symptoms, I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation at 206-522-8873. I also offer free monthly presentations (you can reserve a seat through phone or email). Together, we can start addressing the symptoms of your misophonia and help you live the