Misophonia is an often misunderstood disorder. Those who suffer from this disorder also suffer from many common misperceptions. Social relationships stand in jeopardy due to lack of knowledge of this condition and failure to provide appropriate support.
Many of us hate certain sounds. However, we can usually tune it out and get on with our daily routines. Patients with misophonia often cannot. Many of them suffer problems with social interactions because of this disorder. And, someone who has never experienced this disorder can never have a true understanding of it. Many people suggest fixes that are not reasonable for a person with this disorder. They are not able to just ignore it or tune it out. They simply cannot exist in the presence of that sound.
How can we support those with misophonia?
- Be empathetic. This is true for any disorder. Try to see how the sound makes the other person feel, not how it would make you feel. You already know that. Try to feel what they feel when faced with a sound trigger. Those suffering are not just being dramatic but have a real disorder.
- Don’t suggest solutions that will not work. Telling someone with misophonia to just tune it out is not going to work. These lame suggestions just serve to trivialize their suffering. Don’t you think that if they could just tune it out or ignore it they wouldn’t have already tried that? This is a real disorder not ruled by thought control. It needs real treatments.
- Never make fun. Do you make fun of someone who is blind or paralyzed? Do you make fun of someone who has seizures? No, because that is just mean. Misophonia is not funny.
- If someone close to you is afflicted with this disorder, try to educate yourself. The more you know, the more you can help. Understanding the intense emotional response someone is having may help you offer better support and assistance.
- If someone is presented with a triggering sound, try to remove the sound source or the person from the sound source. This will help limit the intensity and duration of the emotional response.
- If you know someone who you think may have misophonia, help them seek medical help. While there are still no good treatments for misophonia, there are some now that are being shown to be effective in some patients.
- Understand that misophonia can interfere with a person’s social functioning. Many experience intense anger. It is not you it is directed at but rather an automatic rigid anger that arises from the trigger.
- Remember that it is often not easy to avoid sound triggers. A person with misophonia does not control what sound they will be triggered by. Imagine if that sound is the sound of cell phones ringing. How can anyone avoid that unless they live in a closet? Triggering sounds will happen. Be prepared to take immediate action.
- Be supportive, always. We are all human after all.
Patients with misophonia suffer from a rare misunderstood disorder. They did not choose this for themselves and they have no control over it. Maybe it is time we all try to more supportive? One day, we may need their support in return.Looking for more information on misophonia? Consider attending our workshops at Misophoniaeducation.com