“I should let you know that I have a noise problem. If I was a spy and got caught and my enemies wanted to get information out of me, all it would take is a leaf blower or a barking dog and I’d sing like a canary. Incessant noises drive me crazy. A helicopter has been flying over my apartment for a half an hour and I wish it would just burst into flames.
A neighbor who lives behind me is apparently a major craftsman because he is constantly using a chainsaw and other things that make a lot of noise. He could be chopping up bodies for all I know. I wish he’d chop up his rooster, that’s right, his rooster! WTF is a rooster doing in his yard?
The above paragraph was written months ago before I had a name for my disease. It’s actually a condition, but calling it a disease just sounds more dramatic and appropriate for a hypochondriac. A couple of weeks ago, my sister, Kris, texted me and said, “Look up Misophonia, I think you have it!” She had just seen 20/20, which I got to see three hours later since she’s on the East Coast.
Let’s start with the pronunciation: Misophonia is pronounced “ME SO PHONY AH.” As you start to say it, it sounds like you’re gonna say “Me so horny.” Remember that song by 2 Live Crew? But that turns into sounding like you’re gonna say “I’m so phony” but (with a Chinese accent), that’s right…me so phony (ah!). Now that we’re clear on the pronunciation…
There was a segment on 20/20 spotlighting Misophonia and it turns out that Kelly Ripa and I have it. I never thought I’d ever have anything in common with Kelly Ripa, least of all a neurological disorder, which it is. I don’t think being annoying (like she is) can be the result of a neurological disorder, but hey, I’m no brain surgeon.
Here is the definition: “Misophonia – literally the hatred of sound -can be defined as a hypersensitivity to background sounds or visual stimuli that are generally ignored by other people. More importantly than the individuals inability to block out the offending stimuli or “trigger” is the acute negative emotional response experienced as a direct result of being in contact with a trigger”
They have no idea what causes it. Here are some characteristics: “People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by such ordinary sounds as other people eating, breathing, sniffing, or coughing; certain consonants; or repetitive sounds. The reactions are completely involuntary. People who have misophonia may also be annoyed by other people’s repetitive movements, such as leg-tapping, nail-biting, the rising and falling of the belly, and typing.”
I bolded the word “enraged” because this is how I feel when certain noises set me off. Most of the noises that bother me are considered “environmental” sounds. One of the worst offenders for me are loud motorcycles. If I had a BB gun, it would be best used on them and the other main offenders, leaf blower holders. But certain other noises make me crazy too. For example, I had an assistant who’s fake nails typing on the computer made me want to punch her in the face. Sure, that sounds extreme, but that’s part of my disease. Then, she would crunch potato chips and type at the same time, and I thought my head was gonna explode. I wanted to rip her nails off and scratch her eyes out with her own Lee press-ons.
When I saw 20/20, I felt completely validated. You see, I could never understand why some of these noises seemed to have no affect on other people. No one seemed quite as bothered by these things and it made me feel like a little weirdo, but I couldn’t help it. Certain noises make me feel really ANGRY! So, when I saw that there is a name for it and other people have it, I no longer felt like such a weirdo…at least for that. Of course, no one knows what causes it, but I did have a few head injuries as a kid, which might have something to do with it??
Lucky for me, there is an online support group. I just log on and type “THE GARDENERS ARE HERE AND ONE OF THEM HAS A LEAF BLOWER! HELP ME BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE!” 😀
One time I was on a plane and the guy next to me started making sounds with his mouth, like he was sucking something out of his teeth. (I had no music device to shut it out). It drove me so crazy, I had to offer him floss. It was the only way I could think of to get him to stop. I said, “Do you have something in your teeth, would you like some floss?” He didn’t even get mad or offended. Of course, I, on the other hand, was completely offended by his oral noises. Gum cracking makes me really crazy too, and there’s always at least one black girl on the train cracking her gum like she’s trying to win a contest, hence my need for the Ipod. In my experience, I’ve observed that black girls excel at gum cracking.
Believe it or not, I have a mild case. The people on 20/20 that they were spotlighting would go berserk and freak out if they heard one of their “triggers.” For example, this teenager couldn’t stand the sound of her mother coughing, clearing her throat or get this…breathing! Don’t you just hate it when your mom breathes?
Some other guy on the show almost lost his mind when his business partner was clicking his pen and Kelly Ripa has to leave the room when her husband eats a peach. Peaches are juicy so there must be a lot of smacking, and that drives her crazy. Naturally, I thought this was hilarious and yet, nothing is less hilarious than when I’m having what my sister now calls a “flare up.”
The other day I was on the phone with my mom and a neighbor started using some sort of power tool in the parking area below my apartment. As soon as the noise started I said, “Mom, I have to go, my misophonia is kicking in.” Of course, she laughed, my family finds my illness funny, which it is, when it’s happening to someone else. I quickly reached for my headphones, otherwise known as my “medicine.”
Anyway, enough about my disease. I hope you learned something today about a condition that affects many, many people. Maybe I should start a website and take donations to fund research for this little known condition….or I could just keep the money and buy a great sound system to drown out all the noise, or better yet, a high-powered BB gun!! 😀
Have a quiet and peaceful day!
Oddly enough, I LOVE loud music 😀