The most obvious way that most Misophonia sufferers use technology to help cope with Misophonia is headphones. I own a lot of pairs, and my greatest fear is that my headphones or earbuds are all going to die one day – leaving me exposed to the world. Eek. While this is the most obvious, it is not the only way that I have integrated technology into my misophonic world and my life. While there is no perfect solution for dealing with Misophonia, these methods have made coping with Misophonia much easier.
The first thing I’ve began to utilize for Misophonia – that you might not think of, is Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot (you could also use Google Home with the same results). The great thing about voice control is that it pairs with Amazon Music or Spotify. I have a Spotify playlist with my favorite white noise (I love this Mountain Rain, it’s 1 hour and will loop). If I am ever standing in my kitchen/livingroom and a trigger noise starts – think loud bass in cars outside – I can quickly say, “Alexa play Whitenoise on Spotify” and the room is flooded with calming rain.
While right now I only have the dot in one room, in the future I plan to have one in my bedroom and another in the office. The goal is to have quick voice access to white (or pink or brown noise, whatever you prefer; make sure you test for yourself!) so that I’m always covered, even if I’m not wearing headphones or not at my phone or computer. I also always sleep with white noise because I don’t like to take chances, and I am definitely not going to mess with sleep. Being triggered when tired is one of the worst things on earth!
I have also been using my Samsung Galaxy Watch Active (long name…) to help me identify when I am getting overly aroused. When I am triggered, or when my mood is negative, my heart rate escalates. When my heart rate escalates, I have a visual sign (the higher number) that if I don’t leave – I will need to take much longer to calm down. Any heart rate monitor (even cheap ones on Amazon like this) could help you identify when you’ve had too much stimuli. Remember, the longer you’re triggered, the worse it gets (because sensory information cumulates). I’ve found this helpful because seeing the visual proof has helped my boyfriend, father, and other family members understand that this was a very real condition!
I have several pairs of headphones too, and I use them for different things. I use my Bluetooth headphones that have noise cancelling function when I am in a particularly loud situation, and underneath I wear silicone earplugs for total noise cancellation (with music playing). This is particularly useful in public settings.
I use my earbuds in situations where I want my hair to hide them. Situations like classrooms, parties, or anywhere that I just want to be a part of the environment (wearing big headphones make people think you don’t want to talk). I use these wireless earbuds because they are small enough to cover with hair and play white noise (or music, depending where I am).
Technology has been an invaluable way for me to feel like I can control Misophonia. Of course, there are still some days that are worse than others, but at least I know that I have these methods of coping. As Smart Homes and Smart Devices become more popular, I’m super excited to see ways where we can have things controlled by smartplugs (you could have white noise generator on an Alexa enabled plug etc). Now all we need is for somebody to invent a device that automatically silences the world…Looking for more information on misophonia? Consider attending our workshops at Misophoniaeducation.com