Misophonia (Noise Sensitivity)
Misophonia (Noise sensitivity) can make life unbearable. Certain sounds become just so irritating. Some people even feel boiling rage whenever they hear ‘that sound’.
What is Misophonia? Misophonia, literally means ” A hatred of sound”and is a disorder in which negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds. It is also called “soft sound sensitivity syndrome,” “select sound sensitivity syndrome” (“4S”), “decreased sound tolerance” and “sound-rage”.
Misophonia works in a similar way to a phobia in that a specific environmental trigger becomes wrongly linked to a strong emotional reaction which is usually irritation and anger rather than fear.
Certain sounds trigger emotional responses.
Misophonia, incredible noise sensitivity, occurs when a part of your brain involved in alerting emotional responses to sound become active in response to specific sounds – and usually, these are sounds that don’t naturally arouse emotion.
For example, sounds like a scream or an explosion automatically mobilize strong emotional responses in most people. But people with noise sensitivity have a strong emotional response linked to an everyday sound that would seem insignificant to most of us.
The emotion is faster than the speed of thought.
It might sound trivial to some people but when you suffer this kind of intense noise sensitivity then it can actually feel as if it’s starting to take over your life. Emotional responses become instinctive, that is to say they start to run automatically at given triggers without the rational, logical conscious brain getting much of a look in.
Hypnosis can teach you brain to switch off to those sounds.
Hypnosis is the most powerful way to influence instinctive responses to noises in the environment because it can be used to quickly and comfortably re-educate your mind about what warrants an emotional response – and what doesn’t.
Just imagine how it’s going to feel when you can relax around noises that used to bother you. When you no longer waste time anticipating sounds before they even occur and when you begin to tune out noises you really don’t need to waste attention
Noise sensitivity can make life unbearable. It might be the sound of someone eating or any random noise at all. In my practice of treating people for noise sensitivity, it tends to be noises made by other people, such as smacking lips, but it could be anything. If you find yourself becoming irate, irrational, and enraged to a particular sound then try these tips to help you overcome noise sensitivity.
Tip 1: Know your noise sensitivity triggers
What exactly is bothering you? Malcolm didn’t mind this college coughing, but when she cleared her throat, which apparently she did often, he became enraged. What specifically upsets you? My noise-sensitive client found that he wasn’t just being upset by the sound itself, but by the expectation before the sound occurred and feelings of anger after he’d heard it. At weekends he’d obsess about the noise and think how he could possibly avoid this poor colleague (whom he quite liked). But the noise itself may not be the only trigger.
Malcolm had many stresses in his life and, not surprisingly, the misophonia became much worse when his general stress levels were higher than normal. It’s as if the noise just became a focal point for all of life’s stresses and frustrations.
What exactly triggers your noise sensitivity and what generally triggers it?
Tip 2: Think about when you are less noise-sensitive
When examining problems, it seems natural to focus on when the problem does happen – and that’s useful. But we also need to learn how not to ‘do’ the problem. One way is to focus on when it doesn’t or hasn’t happened when we might have expected it to.
Malcolm remembered a time when he’d gone for his lunch break and bumped into an old school friend. They’d reminisced and laughed and agreed to meet up again; he remembered going back to work and, for the first time, not even thinking about the woman’s throat clearing. This little snippet was invaluable information because it gave us a clue as to what Malcolm needed more of, in his life, to decrease his stress response being triggered by sounds.
When is your noise sensitivity not triggered in a situation you’d normally expect it to be?
Tip 3: Fill what is lacking in life
It was interesting that when Malcolm felt connected to someone and had laughed, his noise sensitivity had abated for many hours. Do you feel isolated, directionless, powerless, or as if your life has little fun or creativity? If so, then it might be that all these stresses (and not meeting needs always causes stress) may be causing the noise sensitivity.
I encouraged Malcolm to start seeing people he liked again, to relax deeply and regularly, and to take up a little exercise. He found that starting to meet his basic life needs, in addition to other work we did, resulted in the happy ‘by-product’ of a massive reduction in his focus on noise.
What might be lacking in your life? And how can you actively go about filling that hole?
Tip 4: Re-tune your hearing
I mentioned that Malcolm had also become over-sensitive to the intermittent sound of his neighbour’s water feature. Now, we see and hear all kinds of things, but we are not always aware of seeing and hearing all these things. The great hypnotherapist Dr Milton Erickson told a story of when he was a young man and went to work in an extremely noisy factory. To his amazement, whilst he couldn’t hear what was being said to him because of the din of the factory machines, all the other workers could hear one another. And to his even greater amazement, he found that after a week he too could hear what his co-workers were saying. How? Through selective hearing, that’s how.
If you stare at the wall, you’ll notice you can either really focus in one spot or you can de-focus on that area and focus on parts of your visual field around the edges of that spot. Even though your eyes haven’t moved, your focus has.
You can do this with hearing, too. When you are deeply engrossed in a film or book, your ears may hear when your name is called, but your brain doesn’t register that sound. When you are sleeping deeply, there are all kinds of things your ears hear but your brain doesn’t. I asked Malcolm to wait for the sound of the water feature (which he was already doing) and then, when he heard it, to listen intently to sounds outside the house and to list those sounds (“car passing, kids playing,” and so on). Of course, he found he couldn’t be as focused on the water feature when he did this.
Try to de-focus on trigger sounds by focusing on other sounds around.
Tip 5: Overcome noise sensitivity with hypnosis
I used hypnosis with Malcolm not only to encourage a tuning out from the sounds that had upset him, but also to help him change the way he felt about those sounds. Go and see someone who is skilled in the use of clinical hypnosis to help you relax around what troubles you.
Download our Overcome Noise Sensitivity treatment session today and enjoy the freedom to relax around those sounds that used to bother you so much.
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Want To Know More?
At The Watford & District Hypnotherapy Centre We offer private therapy sessions Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 20:00 and Saturday mornings between 10:00 and 15:00
Sessions are on average 60 minutes in length and cost is £65.00.Specific number of sessions required is hard if not impossible to state as it is a very individual set of circumstances and responses that bring about the various issues, we offer a free of charge no obligation initial assessment at which we should be able to assess likely number of sessions required.