You know that one sound that grates on your very worst nerve…..

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I had a blog post written in my head and then I arrived home….

The Big Green Gummi Bear was in the midst of fixing our electric garage door. It had been sticking, so he was working “man magic” to ensure it runs smoothly.

For what felt like forever, he made it go up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down… In reality, this went on for about thirty or forty minutes. In reality, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not even a loud noise.

Indoors, I was slowly feeling my blood begin to boil as the incessant noise droned on and on and on and on…. I had my iPod playing reasonably loudly in the kitchen, filling the room with my preferred hard rock music (Disturbed on this occasion, in case you were curious) but my “bat hearing” was still detecting the drone of the garage door motor. In my head, it was drowning out all other more pleasing sounds.

There was no point in complaining to the BGGB or of saying anything to him when he finally stopped and came indoors. The issue here is mine and it’s literally all in my head.

Certain noises can quietly drive me almost insane if they go on long enough.

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There’s a few everyday culprits on the list :- the sound of the vacuum cleaner (worse if someone else is driving it), the kitchen extractor fan, hairdryers, certain types of music (think hard house nation, boom boom boom stuff, clubland mixes) some strong accents and the BGGB’s snoring and rattling breathing while he’s asleep.

There are probably a few more but I’m sure you’ve got the hint. Perhaps you’re even nodding in agreement.

I had always assumed it was me being intolerant even though I am a patient person by nature but then I stumbled across an article about noise and discovered that this reaction to noise had a name.

Misophonia.

 It literally translates into “hatred of sound” and is a recognised neurological disorder. It is also very common, more so among women, and is easy to cope with day to day in its mildest forms.

Now I don’t truly believe that I am any more sensitive to sounds than most people (perhaps I am, who knows!) but, as I’ve listed, there are certain trigger sounds that get on my very worst nerve!

The reaction they can trigger varies from mild irritation to annoyance to anger. From the research I’ve read, in its severest forms, Misphonia can trigger violent rages in sufferers. (The BGGB should be thankful that his “sleeping noises” don’t trigger such an extreme response and that all he usually endures is a poke to the ribs!) Other sufferers can experience anxiety and panic attacks triggered by everyday noises. As you can imagine, this has a detrimental effect on their quality of life.

If “eating noises” are a trigger, one of the most common recognised triggers, then life can quickly become quite restricted.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes Misophonia but have determined that its not linked to a person’s hearing or ears. Research so far has shown that it is part mental and part physical. The mental impact of the sound triggers a negative physical response eg anger. There is no known cure either at present.

For now, sufferers have to learn to live with the condition or develop their own coping strategies. CBT and hypnosis have been found to provide relief of the symptoms in some people.

For me, the answer is usually to drown the noise out with another more pleasing sound (cue louder rock music- sorry neighbours) or, where possible, to turn it off. (To be honest, I’d rather a cooking smell filled kitchen than have to endure the torture of the extractor fan over the cooker- fact!)

Sadly, most sufferers have to just grin and bear it and pray their trigger sound stops before their temper snaps.

Now that I’ve got you thinking….what noises get under your skin?

 For more information on Misophonia visit www.misophonia-uk.org

images sourced via Google

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