Tag Archives: sound sensitivity

Sounds like hypochondria

As part of my consulting practice, I do a lot of work for the medical profession. I often work with groups of doctors who are discussing the latest treatments for various diseases. When I’m on a project, I’m immersed in descriptions and data about symptoms, diagnosis, prevalence and treatment.

It’s interesting work and I enjoy it. There’s only one drawback. By the end of every project, I’m convinced I have the disease. In my mind, I’ve had ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Narcolepsy, Colitis and some pretty serious neurological conditions. I imagine there are also some pretty nasty viruses brewing in my system.

If I were to self diagnose, I’d say it’s a hypersensitivity to data and descriptions.

My latest condition? Misophonia. I didn’t pick this one up at work but rather, watching the morning news. Have you heard about it?

As best I understand it, Misophonia is a low tolerance for certain kinds of sounds, thought be the result of abnormal connections between the autonomic and limbic systems of the brain. People who suffer from Misophonia aren’t just annoyed by their triggers. They’re enraged.

Maybe you saw the news story. A woman and her husband had to eat in separate rooms.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you the condition isn’t triggered by loud noises. I can put up with most loud noises. What triggers my Misophonia—and, I trust that of my fellow sufferers—are the quieter human sounds: breathing, chewing (the sound of any gum chewing whatsoever sends me into orbit!), slurping coffee or soup, the shuffling of feet. If I had to name one trigger that evokes homicidal thoughts, it would be a nose whistle.

I’m sure there’s an olfactory equivalent and I’m sure I have that too. I suspect it’s because I’m nearly blind as a bat and, therefore, my senses of hearing, smell, taste and even touch are super-acute.

I’ve heard music in my bedsprings, I can smell when someone has visited a house with a dog and I routinely detect what my husband had for lunch. The toe-tapping of an average human feels to me like the footsteps of the Jolly Green Giant.

Okay, so now you know there’s something wrong with me. Give me a moment and I’ll give you the proper clinical term.

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