Experience with misophonia (aversion to certain sounds)? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 01-09-2014, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD1 is 14, and just in the past year or so she has developed an intense aversion to the sound of people chewing food, particularly "crunching." The main problem we are having is family meals. When one of us "crunches" at a meal, she either freaks out or gives us a death stare. We're starting to become self-conscious about this perfectly normal activity, while at the same want to help her overcome this feeling. Apparently, the cafeteria at school does not bother her, because it's so loud in there.

 

Does anyone have experience with this? She did a Google search herself and found the term "misophonia" - I am reading an article now, and it sure does sound like her and started at the same age mentioned:

 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113667/misophonia-treatment-what-if-chewing-sounds-ruined-your-life

 

We'd like to find some coping mechanisms. So far, she hasn't been able to come up with anything herself. Help?


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#2 of 23 Old 01-09-2014, 04:27 PM
 
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DS is the same way. For him, I think it's part of his Auditory Processing Disorder.
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#3 of 23 Old 01-09-2014, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How does he deal with it, Polliwog? Do you manage to eat together as a family?


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#4 of 23 Old 01-10-2014, 01:15 PM
 
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We are dealing with this, too, and I only wish I had some good coping techniques. I have this, too, and I'm sure DD got it from me. I feel like I need TV or music going when I eat with other people. When I'm trapped with someone chewing, the noise makes me unreasonably furious. 

 

When DD was in counseling last year, we brought it up to the counselor, but she didn't have great suggestions, either.  She suggested DD wearing headphones to the dinner table. We usually just eat in different rooms - certainly not the family dinner table I'd prefer, but it keeps the "death stares" and outbursts from occurring. 

 

For me, background noise is the key. Restaurants are fine for me, but DD is still bothered there. I will watch this thread to see if others have advice.


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#5 of 23 Old 01-10-2014, 01:34 PM
 
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Does she have an Auditory or Auditory Filtering Disorder?

Hmm...I'd say white noise, headphones, background music would all be good options.  Or if you can introduce some kind of therapeutic for her to use during dinner that might be even better for her......

Like a fidget to hold/use while people eat, or something else?  I'm drawing a blank right now, but I bet you can find a bunch of therapeutic options for sensory disorders if you google?

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#6 of 23 Old 01-10-2014, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does she have an Auditory or Auditory Filtering Disorder?

Hmm...I'd say white noise, headphones, background music would all be good options.  Or if you can introduce some kind of therapeutic for her to use during dinner that might be even better for her......

Like a fidget to hold/use while people eat, or something else?  I'm drawing a blank right now, but I bet you can find a bunch of therapeutic options for sensory disorders if you google?


No, not that we know of. Every so often "something" crops up in times of stress - when she started school, the first few years she would have a phobia the first month or two (one year it was fear of the house burning down). She has always chewed things. For a while, all of her sleeves and collars had holes in them from the chewing. I don't know if that means anything. Right now I don't know about any particular stress other than it's time to choose classes for high school (too early in my opinion - she only barely started the second half of eighth grade). That and just being in eighth grade!

 

We thought of trying background music, so that's definitely on the list. Thanks for the tip about fidgets! We recently got her one, and she loved it, but it broke. I will google & get some to try at the table.


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#7 of 23 Old 01-10-2014, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We usually just eat in different rooms - certainly not the family dinner table I'd prefer, but it keeps the "death stares" and outbursts from occurring. 

 

For me, background noise is the key. Restaurants are fine for me, but DD is still bothered there. I will watch this thread to see if others have advice.

We're still trying to avoid that - and interesting that the death stares seem to be common! I think background noise might help because she says the school lunchroom is OK because it's loud.


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#8 of 23 Old 01-11-2014, 08:54 AM
 
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Does her own chewing sounds bother her? Noises always seem worse when you are not the one controlling them so maybe it would help having some carrot sticks on her plate so she can out-crunch other people's crunching? Bite a carrot any time she's annoyed? I'm thinking this might desensitize her rather than avoiding the problem by using background noise... Or as an option when background noise isn't available...

 

When my son was young, he'd start yelling and singing whenever I vacuumed... Some people thought he was just being obnoxious but I realized it was his coping mechanism for dealing with the noise. If he couldn't stop the noise, making his own noise helped.


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#9 of 23 Old 01-14-2014, 06:37 AM
 
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I get completely overwhelmed and freak out.  Last night I was having a hissy because dd kept turning the tv up (I hate having the tv on anyway), ds was playing with the dog and dh was snoring on the couch.  I finally gave up and went to take a bath.  I can't sit with my family at the dinner table, we tend to sit in the living room to eat, only because there's more space and the background noise from the tv helps.  We still sit together, but it's not silence at the table.  

 

I say give her space at dinner, it's not worth the uncomfortable feelings she's having to have a family meal.  

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#10 of 23 Old 01-14-2014, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does her own chewing sounds bother her? Noises always seem worse when you are not the one controlling them so maybe it would help having some carrot sticks on her plate so she can out-crunch other people's crunching? Bite a carrot any time she's annoyed? I'm thinking this might desensitize her rather than avoiding the problem by using background noise... Or as an option when background noise isn't available...

 

No, they don't. Will definitely try this.


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#11 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 09:47 AM
 
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This is a serious disorder. There is a yahoo group about it called I think sound sensitivity - with lots of great info. So far it seems very un curable. My son is 10 and has it.

It is hell for him when he is affected so we never make him eat with us, except at restaurants where it doesn't bother him as long as he has food at the same time we eat.

He is bothered far more by my chewing or tapping (on my ipad) than others, probably because he is closest to me.

The most important thing to know is that they are not being mean or trying to disobey or cause trouble. They feel soooo bad,even suicidal at times. Please respect them and try to understand and help. Hopefully we will learn more about this anxiety rage disorder.

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#12 of 23 Old 01-18-2014, 12:32 PM
 
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My 15yo dd recently self-diagnosed, and as she discloses more of what is going on with her I have to agree with her appraisal. She has a history of some sensory processing difficulties as a child which abated by the time she was 8 or 9. She couldn't wear socks, for instance, because the pressure on the ends of her toes drove her nuts, that sort of thing. The misophonia started causing her problems over the past 6-12 months, though she says she's been sensitive for three or four years.

 

She copes with family meals by keeping vigorous conversation going and scuttling off as quickly as she can. For lunch and breakfast, which we don't do as family meals, she just leaves the room if someone is eating. Her main difficulty is at school, because at her school the learning format involves lots of independent study blocks and very little traditional large-group teacher-led learning. The typical classroom stuff is fine, because the behavioural expectations are fairly traditional: no gum, no food, be quiet, pay attention. Although she is a very motivated and adept independent learner, she's having problems with the environment at school where she's supposed to work: it's flexible, loose and creative, meaning students are welcome to make themselves tea, listen to music, chat quietly, eat snacks and so on. The chewing, swallowing and humming are sometimes bringing my dd to tears, and she can spend most of a study block pinching herself and talking herself out of punching people. She can blast her auditory awareness of these things away with her own iPod, but then it's so loud that she can't do her own work. We're pretty much at the point where I think we need to go into the school and ask for accommodations. Some days she copes well, but on other days she would really benefit from having somewhere to move to that is quiet and away from other students.

 

We're looking at moving her to a different town and a different school next year. The main reasons have nothing to do with the misophonia, but it would be a bonus if most of her schooling was in a more traditional classroom environment. Any of you adults with misophonia, did you ever share a dorm room or similar with another student? Were you able to cope, to study easily, to co-exist in such close quarters without coming to blows? The reason I ask is that dd will need to live away from home during the week to attend this school and I had initially thought she could share a place with a slightly older friend with the friend's mom staying over about half the time. But ... well, I'm wondering if dd will be driven to misery by sharing a studio apartment with others. 

 

I'm also wondering about noise-cancelling headphones combined with something like jazzandrain.com (chill music with white-noise i.e. rain where you can crank the relative volume of the rain up to dominate). We don't own n/c headphones but are considering purchasing a good set. Any experience? Also, anyone noticed any association with premenstrual irritability?

 

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#13 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 11:05 AM
 
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This is a serious disorder. There is a yahoo group about it called I think sound sensitivity - with lots of great info. So far it seems very un curable. My son is 10 and has it.

He is bothered far more by my chewing or tapping (on my ipad) than others, probably because he is closest to me.
 

Thanks for the info about the Yahoo group. I will check that out. I also notice I'm most bothered by my DH's chewing, but I can eat with strangers just fine. And DD is most bothered by my DH and me, but pretty OK with her school friends.


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#14 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 11:18 AM
 
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She has a history of some sensory processing difficulties as a child which abated by the time she was 8 or 9. 

 

Any of you adults with misophonia, did you ever share a dorm room or similar with another student? Were you able to cope, to study easily, to co-exist in such close quarters without coming to blows? 

 

We don't own n/c headphones but are considering purchasing a good set. Any experience? Also, anyone noticed any association with premenstrual irritability?

 

Miranda

DD has always been Highly Sensitive (beginning with blood-curdling sobs over wet diapers as a newborn.) As with all her Highly Sensitive difficulties, my goal is to help her learn to cope in the real world, so we work on cognitive behavioral therapy. I wouldn't change her school based on her misophonia, because I know she'll have to deal with in the workplace as an adult. I do think that finding accommodations is reasonable, because we have so much more personal physical freedom as adults to do what works. 

 

I did live in a dorm in undergrad and my master's programs, with varying degrees of success. I'm simply an irritable person! Everything about roommates drove me nuts: sleeping schedules, cleaning, etc. I still feel guilty about what a horrible roommate I was.

 

DD has a pair of Beats headphones, and they help a lot. Nothing helps as much as distraction, though. She eats just fine with her cousins, because they're playing, joking, and teasing. That tells me that, like me, she can *learn* to cope with it.


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#15 of 23 Old 01-20-2014, 11:37 AM
 
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Oh, changing schools has nothing to do with misophonia. It has to do with not having any academic peers or valuable social relationships at her current microscopically small school. The decision to switch was made before she'd even identified and communicated about her misophonic issues. I'm just thinking a bonus with the switch might be the use of traditional classroom learning.

Glad to hear the headphones have been helpful. Since distractions aren't an appropriate solution in the IDL (study hall type) room at school she's decided to try some active noise canceling earbuds as a discreet and acceptable coping mechanism.

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#16 of 23 Old 01-23-2014, 04:22 AM
 
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So I am an adult with this problem, and to be honest, even though a lot of people have tried to help and come with suggestions, in the end, I just had to figure it out on my own. I can't take whistling and whispering (most people create an ssss sound when whispering), and in high school I had a teacher with a weird lisp that bothered me so much I had to switch classes. Chewing and "kissing" noises bother me too. My close friends are aware of this and respect me enough to not do it, but when I'm with strangers, I will often not say anything. When I was younger I would blow up and start shouting, now I go to my "happy place". Basically, just relax and think about other things. I always have my headphones with me so that I can listen to music as well, and when we eat at home, we put the TV on. "Luckily", my mother has the same issue as me, and agree that dinner time is not a time for talking.

 

I know it's not what you want, but letting her eat on her own and finding other times to spend time together as a family might be best for her. If she has it as bad as me, and if you knew how horrible we feel when we hear those sounds, I think you would let her. When I was her age, I just wanted to scream when I heard the sounds that I reacted to.

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#17 of 23 Old 01-23-2014, 12:12 PM
 
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I know it's not what you want, but letting her eat on her own and finding other times to spend time together as a family might be best for her. If she has it as bad as me, and if you knew how horrible we feel when we hear those sounds, I think you would let her. When I was her age, I just wanted to scream when I heard the sounds that I reacted to.

Wow, I'm sorry you suffer with this, but I'm kind of relieved to find out I'm not insane. I agree with what you said about finding other family times. 

 

Also, Miranda, I thought about you this morning. DD is PMS'ing right now, and oh wow, was she off the charts with irritability this morning. She yelled at me for swallowing during a conversation - that's a new one. 


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#18 of 23 Old 01-23-2014, 05:15 PM
 
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Since at least my teens, I have been intensely bothered by various normal chewing/swallowing noises (in very quiet circumstances, even the sound of myself eating); and the sound of thin plastic packaging being handled, especially slowly.  A quick wadding up of an empty pretzel bag before tossing it in the recycling, I can handle.  But if, say, a person leaves a plastic wrapper on their granola bar and slowly moves it down as they eat, I may need to leave the room.  The quieter such noises are, the more they seem to irritate me.  I seemed to grow even more sensitive to these sounds, after I began having babies.

 

I used to assume that chewing noises bothered everyone as much as they bother me, but that we must all do our best to tolerate them, since people must eat.  If I couldn't get my mind off those sounds - for example, at the dinner table - and it appeared that others could, I thought I just had a bad attitude.  It didn't occur to me that I might be extra-touchy about these things, until after my twins were born and I rather rudely snapped at my mother, for slowly eating Goldfish crackers out of a cellophane pouch in her purse.  Ironically, she was trying to be quiet and that made it all the worse - that the noise was slow and prolonged.  

 

As far as managing it... I can only suggest a balance between your daughter training herself to be gracious (with maturity, she should increasingly accept that her sensitivity doesn't entitle her to make others feel ashamed, for normal noises they can't help but make); and her learning to politely self-advocate.  People in my family know that if they're handling plastic packaging around me, I'd like them to do it quickly and get it over with - which is usually pretty easy to comply with.  At mealtimes, lively conversation - or leaving a radio on, with some music or NPR - can help distract from chewing noises.


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#19 of 23 Old 01-24-2014, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As far as managing it... I can only suggest a balance between your daughter training herself to be gracious (with maturity, she should increasingly accept that her sensitivity doesn't entitle her to make others feel ashamed, for normal noises they can't help but make); and her learning to politely self-advocate.  People in my family know that if they're handling plastic packaging around me, I'd like them to do it quickly and get it over with - which is usually pretty easy to comply with.  At mealtimes, lively conversation - or leaving a radio on, with some music or NPR - can help distract from chewing noises.

Thank you - that's a great way of putting it. We aren't giving up on family dinner yet. We have started putting on music at dinnertime, eating crunchy stuff at the same time, practicing relaxation, etc.

 

This forum had some good tips:

http://www.misophonia.com/Forum/


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#20 of 23 Old 01-29-2014, 11:30 AM
 
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Thought I'd just report back. My dd bought herself a set of active noise-cancelling earbuds. She's just had them a few days but is finding them very helpful at school during independent study sessions, and today she wrote a couple of midterm exams using them. Music / smartphones / iPods are banned during exams so she had to ask for permission, which entailed explaining what her difficulties were to both the teacher and the principal, but apparently she was clear and persuasive enough, because permission was granted. Happy to share product info if anyone is interested.

 

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#21 of 23 Old 01-29-2014, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's good news, moominmamma!


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#22 of 23 Old 01-29-2014, 03:01 PM
 
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Miranda, I'm so happy she's found something that is working for her. I'd love to know the brand/model of earbuds she's using. I'm also very impressed that she took the initiative to talk to the teachers/administrators herself. 


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#23 of 23 Old 01-29-2014, 06:04 PM
 
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She got a fairly inexpensive Audio Technica model, the ANC23. Many of the reviews we read said they were almost as good as the $300 Bose model, but at a sixth the price it was no contest for her. The noise-cancelling can be turned off with a switch if you want better audio fidelity. All in-ear noise-cancelling phones need to make use of a little external module to do the active part of the cancelling, and in this case it's a little AAA-powered clip-on thingy. Some of the ~$100 models had iPod/iPhone compatible controls on the cable, but she decided it wasn't worth the extra money to get that. These came with a bunch of different silicone ear tips and she had no problem getting a comfortable good seal with the selection provided. They're not a high-end audiophile product, but are pretty cool for the price.

 

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