Misophonia is a relatively new term. However, “auditory over-responsivity,” and “auditory sensitivities” have been studied for decades. Misophonia is best described as neurophysiological disorder in which certain auditory stimuli are misinterpreted as dangerous, or toxic. Individuals with misophonia are set off, or “triggered” by repetitive, patterned-based sounds, such as chewing, coughing, pencil tapping, sneezing, etc. Some individuals with misophonia also describe visual triggers.
When an individual with misophonia is triggered, they experience autonomic nervous system arousal (e.g. the fight/flight response). This is accompanied by continual physiological and emotional stress. Although the misophonia research is in its infancy, many researchers agree that it is related to atypical connections between the parts of the brain that process auditory information and the parts of the brain that process emotion.
As of now there is no evidenced-based treatment for misophonia. However, developing coping skills is very helpful for many individuals. Coping skills development for misophonia includes a combination of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), supportive individual, family, and couples counseling, as well as techniques that help an individual learn to self-regulate (or calm their physiological and emotional responses to misophonia triggers).