Misophonia treatment

What is misophonia?

Misophonia: what can you do about it? Misophonia treatment.

Misophonia: what can you do about it?

Misophonia literally means: hatred of sound. People diagnosed with misophonia hate sounds… not all sounds, but specific sounds. In general any sound can become a problem for someone with misophonia, but it usually are background noises (think of chewing, pen clicking etc.). People with misophonia can respond in different ways: from disgust, irritation, verbal aggression, and physical aggression (directed towards objects) when confronted with the sound [1]. Misophonia treatment focuses on neutralizing the conditioned response to certain noises. But there is no evidence based misophonia treatment yet, because this mental disorder is relatively new. People are still looking for an effective misophonia treatment. Results of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Tinnitus retraining therapy on misophonia look promising, but more research is needed.

Barends Psychology Practice is looking for volunteers who currently suffer from Misophonia and are willing to participate in a free of charge misophonia treatment based on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). In case you are interested, please contact us for more information.  


What are the diagnostic criteria of misophonia?

Little is known about this new mental disorder, thus people are still trying to figure out what the diagnostic criteria for misophonia are. One study [1] suggests that misophonia is a completely new mental disorder which doesn’t fit in mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and so on. This study found the following diagnostic criteria [1]:

  • (A) feelings of aversion and anger evoked by particular sounds,
  • (B) rare potentially aggressive outbursts,
  • (C) recognition by the misophonic individual that his/her behavior is excessive,
  • (D) avoidance behavior,
  • (E) distress and interference in daily life, and lastly,
  • (F) the lack of another condition to account for all symptoms.
    According to this study [1] (small scale, n=42) the age of onset for misophonia is 13 years old (ranging from age 2 to 38). According to these 42 patients the triggering sounds were all produced by human beings (except for their own sounds)[1],[2]. However, animal or other sounds did not cause any problem for these patients. 81% of the patients reported that their triggers were eating-related sounds people make. 61.3% of the patients reported that their triggers were related to breathing or nose sounds. 59.5% of the patients reported being triggered by sounds of a clicking pen or typing on a keyboard [1].
    Study [3] mentions that the sounds can also be produced by machines (distant airplane or train) or by animals and that this annoyance and irritation with the particular sound probably developed during childhood/adolescence.

    Misophonia treatment

    If left untreated misophonia negatively affects performance at school, work, family, and social domains. On top of that, avoidance of the particular sound also negatively affect someone’s ability to achieve goals and enjoy social activities [3].

    Although there are no evidence based treatments available at the moment, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) have been proposed to be effective treatments [3]. Note: the studies testing both the effectiveness of CBT and TRT in reducing the misophonia symptoms were limited in their group size, which makes it more likely that the treatment effectiveness could be explained by other factors but just therapy.
    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been effective in treating misophonia in a pilot study, but these data need to be reproduced to say something meaningful about it, therefore we’ve decided to apply EMDR to people with Misophonia.
    Fortunately, currently more researchers are busy trying to find an evidence based misophonia treatment. This page will keep you updated.

    Literature used for this article: