What Is Misophonia?

Misophonia, also referred to as 4S, selective sound sensitivity, and soft sound sensitivity, can be defined as an abnormally strong emotional reaction to certain or specific sounds. Patients who suffer from misophonia define a specific set of “trigger” sounds, which typically includes sounds made by other people such as oral or eating sounds (i.e. chewing, crunching, popping, lip smacking, whistling), breathing sounds (i.e. sniffling, sniffing, mouth breathing), and repetitive sounds (i.e. typing, pen clicking, fingernails tapping). These sounds trigger an instantaneous emotional — and sometimes physical — reaction. The misophonic patient may feel anger, disgust, or irritation. They may experience muscle tension, anxiety, or a sensation of being trapped. This condition often starts in childhood or early adolescence, can carry into adulthood, and disrupt the patient’s quality of life as well as relationships with others.

Research is greatly needed to describe an accurate definition, diagnosis and treatment. Currently, audiologists are part of a multidisciplinary team successfully helping misophonia sufferers.

Evaluation and Management

Hearing & Balance Specialists of Kansas City believes that understanding each individual’s experience with misophonia will help direct the treatment plan accordingly. Each patient who visits our clinic benefits from a thorough case history, patient interview, and diagnostic audiological evaluation. In some cases, we can identify the presence of Misophonia in the sound booth as well as provide a tinnitus assessment when they coexist. These results are described in detail following the evaluation.

If audiological management is indicated, misophonia conditions are managed in a similar way to tinnitus. Although each individual is unique, a combination approach using sound therapy and counseling (or coaching) has been shown to be successful. Please contact our office for more information.