Symptoms & Triggers

The definition of misophonia is the hatred of sound. But a person with misophonia does not hate all sound. They’re only sensitive to certain sounds. And those sounds are usually unique to each person. Pretty much any sound can become a problem for a person with misophonia. Often, these sounds are background noise. Another common type of trigger sound are those made by the mouth and nasal noises (chewing, sniffling, etc.)

 

The collection of sounds that affects a person is called that person’s trigger set. It is possible to add to one’s trigger set over time. Additionally, some people are sensitive to the things that they see. Misokinesia is the word that describes having visual triggers.

 

Being exposed to a trigger sound creates an immediate negative emotional response. This response can range from moderate discomfort to panic or rage. Fight or flight reactions are not uncommon. During a trigger event, a person may become agitated, defensive, or even offensive. They may also distance themselves from the trigger, or mimic the sound.

The sound of fingernails scraping down a chalkboard is unpleasant.

But this is a very mild example of what people with misophonia experience. It lacks the intensity associated with misophonia. The fingernail sound doesn’t cause people to have a strong emotional reaction. Not liking something, even if very strongly, doesn’t usually make a person want to lash out. Moreover, it’s not likely to produce a fight or flight reflex.

 

The people closest to the person with misophonia often elicit the most problematic triggers. This fact can make personal relationships difficult.

An environment known to include trigger sounds can limit social activities because the person with misophonia can anticipate probable trigger events. People with misophonia may isolate themselves in an attempt to reduce the stress that sound triggers cause.

Those with misophonia can be reluctant to share their symptoms and triggers.

 
Sharing can have uncertain outcomes.
 
Sometimes, people mock those with sound sensitivities. Some go as far as making exaggerated trigger sounds to tease or taunt. Additionally, some family, friends, and co-workers try to make light of the problem. People with misophonia are sometimes told to “try to ignore the sound.” Or they’re told that they’re “being difficult” or “don’t let it get to you.” Suggestions like these, even if well-intended, are not usually helpful.
 
For people with misophonia, it is not a matter of making a conscious decision to ignore triggers. If people with misophonia could ignore their triggers, they wouldn’t have misophonia.
 
On the other hand, some well-intentioned people are supportive. Anyone with a problem or difficulty appreciates an occasional helping hand. So, if you know someone with misophonia and want to help them, all you need to do is ask what you can do to help. If you’d like to explain misophonia to someone in a letter, we have one available here.

List of Common Triggers

There is a chance that reading about triggers can cause one to take on the described trigger. But, this only happens to some people, some of the time. Also, some people report that hearing or imagining sample trigger sounds can be a problem.

If learning about new trigger sounds could be a problem for you, stop reading this page now.

 

People Sounds

Mouth and Eating: “ahhs” after drinking, burping, chewing, crunching (ice or other hard food), gulping, gum chewing and popping, kissing sounds, nail-biting, silverware scraping teeth or a plate, slurping, sipping, licking, smacking, spitting, sucking (ice, etc.), swallowing, talking with food in mouth, tooth brushing, flossing, tooth sucking, lip-smacking, wet mouth sounds, grinding teeth, throat clearing, jaw clicking.

Breathing/Nasal: grunting, groaning, screaming, loud or soft breathing, sniffling, snorting, snoring, sneezing, loud or soft talking, raspy voices, congested breathing, hiccups, yawning, nose whistling and wheezing.

Vocal: humming, muffled talking, nasally voices, overused words such as um or ah (repeated words), sibilant sounds (S, P, T, CH, K, B sounds), singing, gravelly voices, bad singing, soft whisper-like voices and whistling.

Baby: Baby crying, babbling, adults using baby talk, kids yelling.

Environmental Sounds

Household/Office: clicking from texting, keyboard/mouse, TV remote, pen clicking, writing sounds, papers rustling/ripping, ticking clocks, texting, cell phone ringtone.

Utensils/metals: dishes clattering, fork scraping teeth, silverware hitting plates or other silverware and rattling change in pockets.

Plastic: water bottle squeezing/crinkling, breaking hard plastic, bouncing balls.

Wrappers: plastic bags crinkling/rustling, plastic bags opening or being rubbed, crinkling food packages.

Cars: sitting idling for long periods of time, beep when a car is locked, car doors slamming, keys banging against steering column, turn signal clicking.

Heavy equipment: lawnmowers, leaf blower, air conditioners, chainsaws.

Impact sounds: other people’s voices, muffled bass music or TV through walls, doors/windows being slammed, basketball thumps.

Animal noises: dogs barking, bird sounds, crickets, frogs, dogs or cats licking, drinking, slurping, eating, whining, dogs scratching themselves and trying to bite their fleas, claws tapping.

TV: loud TV or radio, static.

Body Movement-related: foot shuffling (dry feet on floor/carpet) or tapping, finger snapping, foot-dragging, heels, flip-flops, knuckle/joint cracking, eye blinking, nail-biting and clipping, eating, chewing, fidgeting, hair twirling, movements out of the corner of eyes, repetitive foot or body movements, jaw chewing/movement.

My Misophonia by Mark Loughman (feat) Rodger Carter




23 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering issues with your
    website. It appears like some of the text on your posts are
    running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide
    feedback and let me know if this is happening to
    them as well? This might be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Kudos

    Reply
    • I haven’t noticed this. But it’ll be good to hear from other people.

      Reply
  2. I’ve been taking Lamictal for a year now for this exact issue. My doctor was confused when I explained my symptoms and had no idea how to help me. Somehow he suggested I try this medication. Lamictal has no side effects either! It has been a life saver! I’m able to actually function daily between work and family/kids. I just thought I’d share this!

    Reply
    • Lamictal sadly has life threatening side effects. Please do your homework! But I am glad it has worked for you!!!

      Reply
  3. I just found this website and started crying when I read this. I’ve have a severe case of Misophonia, but I’ve never seen it being broken down so accurately and scientifically. I wish more people were aware of this disorder

    Reply
  4. Lol…. ppl think I’m being weird when I say I get so nauseous when ppl make that snorting sound when they clear their throat. If I’m out eating it’s hideous. I want to throw up.
    I want to throw up thinking about it. Seriously nauseous now.

    Reply
  5. Oh my gosh. It’s like you are describing me! So happy to put a name to it and to know I’m not a freak.

    Reply
  6. Nice to see that I am not the only person who has this weird reaction to certain noises. I think my sensitivity is pretty severe. Sometimes, if it’s really quiet at night, the sound of my own pulse will drive me nuts and keep me from sleeping. I couldn’t even watch the entire video. The clapping in the beginning was harsh and the rest of the video is full of ssssss sounds and clicks that grate my nerves. Does anyone else here have severe sensitivity like this?

    Reply
  7. I have had problems with sound for as long as I remember the anger and rage felt when I can’t escape the noise can be overwhelming. it is worse when stressed if my neighbour makes a noise I freeze and will be unable to move for as long as the sound lasts. Have just been told I have hyperacusis. however, reading the symptoms and behaviour of someone with extreme misophonia fits with what is happening to me.

    Reply
  8. Oh my, good thing I can say I am just a mild misophoniac. The clicking of the ballpen, the sound of silverware on plate, the chewing sound, any tapping sound, etc. Just recently I cant stand my friend who constantly shook his legs (in sitting position) as if of boredom. Its like he is not focused at all. I can feel his anxiousness for me to finish my talking and then go. Ive already stopped the shaking once before with my own hands and frankly told him that it annoyed me. Although I admit its not about me because it has been his mannerism in ages but still I think I cant get used to it ever. Never did I imagine that this is also categorized as a misophonia. Tnx!

    Reply
  9. I get triggered when I hear raised voices through the wall. My parents fought constantly when I was a kid, and anything that sounds like fighting through a wall makes me anxious and I can’t focus. I am better if people are arguing right next to me, but the muffled through the wall sound is too close to what I heard almost every night as a kid.

    Reply
  10. I am commenting again… I just read the list and I fit sooooo many more of the sounds then I realized off hand. This explains so much!

    Reply
  11. I work in an office/warehouse with Chinese women who can’t walk in their heavy heels or drag their feet, and bring kids to work like it’s daycare. Then I go to my home with Godzilla living upstairs.

    Reply
  12. This is relatable for me, lucky I’m only affected by whispering (like someone whispering in my ear) which isn’t often an issue, although on the occasions it does happen I am filled with an unreasonable amount of rage to to point where my brain is screaming for me to lash out physically and I’ll be on edge and angry for hours after.
    Honestly I’d rather be punched in the face than have someone whisper right in my ear.

    Reply
  13. I suffer with this really bad, with almost all of the listed triggers affecting me. I try so hard not to get angry about it but it upsets me so much. Lashing out is so hard and I have to leave rooms if loud eating and similar noises are around.

    Reply
  14. Omg I really relate to this! But whenever I complain about it to my family they just tell me to stop acting up and sometimes my sister accuses me of listening for annoying sounds , but if I could just ignore them then I would!

    Reply
  15. I hate loud crunching noises, someone eating raw carrots or celery. I hate someone clunking their fork on their teeth. I think the worst is someone munching on potato chips. I suffer in silence for the most part. One time my friend had a hard candy in her mouth and was extremely noisy and I asked her nicely to stop the slurping. I try to plug the ear closest to the noise sometimes or hide an ear plug under my hair. I need a meditation tape to help me with this problem.

    Reply
  16. Yes!!! Finally someone gets it!! Years of wanting to rip off faces because someone is unwrapping candy behind me at church. And the people on TV who talk with heavy vocal fry, baby voice, exaggerated “s” sounds,nasally voice, twangy voice,or dry mouth sounds. My poor hubby gets picked at for throat clearing, loud chomping sounds, and dry mouth sounds. Now I know I am not nuts!! My daughter has this too. Thank you!!

    Reply
  17. I was so happy when I found this website. I have had sensivity to the sound of people chewing, snapping gum, jaw popping and others. I have had this since I was a young kid. My family couldn’t understand. J feel so much better knowing it’s not just me. Thank you!! Now if only there was a good treatment!

    Reply
  18. Noise coming into my space from outside what I have to call home, is very dangerous for me. Bass, music, television, whistling and even people talking loudly by holding a conversation can be highly stressful.
    I have tried to take my life when I couldn’t get away and most of the time I have to result to self harming.
    Nobody believes me and I feel alone and I could not care anymore and well the train seems like a great idea.
    I’ve suffered for around 11 and a half years with no help and people just taunt me.
    My full story is on going and I cannot share, but my days are now numbered.
    My PTSD plays off this misophonia and vise-versa, I am too far gone for talk, as only management seems to work for me now – Peace and quiet, tranquility.
    Good luck everyone, but I’m done with it and what will be will be.

    Reply
  19. Chewing noises have annoyed me since being a teenager, I think. I’m 41 now.
    My family have always known but I think they saw it as me being over the top or rude.
    I think I have improved over the years, or learnt how to deal with it better, I.e I like eating out or with music on as it drowns it out. However, I think other triggers may have taken over now – sniffing or snorting, scraping of cutlery on plates when people are eating, eating with your mouth open or with food in your mouth.
    I think I’ve always struggled with wondering if I do have an issue, or if it’s just bad manners to eat with your mouth full, continually sniff without using a tissue, slurp etc – if you say something to them it is thought that you are rude for saying so… x

    Reply
  20. I have really bad misophonia. Ever since I was little certain sounds bugged me and I never knew why. When I was about 9, I was diagnosed with it. Little thinks that people do every day bug me so bad, so much that I try to avoid going to social events. Chewing bugs me. Humming and singing bugs me. The sound of paper bugs me. The worst part of it though, is that my sisters say that I take away their childhood from them because singing bugs me. I feel so guilty about it that it has led me to depression and really bad anxiety. I tried going to a counselor and I tried coping skills but that didn’t work.

    Reply
  21. wow- until now, I’d never heard of this, so not sure if I have it. I used o be an extra-vert, now i’m the opposite, I don’t like people anymore, don’t trust easy, and there’s all kinds of what is listed that are very familiar to me.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *