Unfortunately for misophonia there is currently no diagnostics code, or enough preliminary research to conclude whether or not there is a genuine connection to autism. On the surface, there are some similarities that are important to explain. Whether these connections are due to a brain and body explanation, or are merely pertaining to the impact on life quality, these associations are important.
“Whether or not there is a misophonia autism connection remains unclear, but there may be factors that warrant further study.”
According to Autism Speaks, Autism is defined as the following: “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.”
Misophonia, like autism and other spectrum disorders, is likely to be a condition that shows a number of influences. As of now, there is not enough evidence to say whether or not it will exist on a spectrum, have genetic connections, or how great the psychiatric or mental health components of the disorder are. This does not mean that misophonia will or will not be connected to autism. However, the important distinction between these disorders is to show the similarities in sensory processing behaviour. Whether or not there is a misophonia autism connection remains unclear, but there may be factors that warrant further study.
Like sensory processing disorder, children with autism become easily overwhelmed by stimuli. Loud noises can be harmful to an autistic child, and they can become irate, or even unable to function around the sounds. This is certainly similar to misophonia. However, it is unclear if the auditory over-responsivity of these two conditions is based on the same brain function. The fact remains that both misophonics and autistics are often heavily impacted by noise.
Exploratory research in the future could settle these distinctions once and for all. In the meantime, it is important to realize that while children with misophonia and autism may both experience difficulties with sensory sensations, autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that has implications that reach far beyond the sensory processing system.
What is particularly interesting with auditory gating and sensory disorders, is that they are likely to be neurological. Because of this, it is important that researchers are open-minded when considering the implications for several disorders that are brain-based and have a sensory component.Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.