Fear Of Sounds (Misophonia): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Classification, Treatment

Fear of sounds is also clinically called misophonia, whose synonym we could call syndrome of exceptional acoustic sensitivity, sound frequency. People who are sensitive to certain sounds sometimes manage by blocking them out.

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound,” was proposed in 2000 as a condition in which negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds.

Misophonia is not classified as a hearing or psychiatric condition, there are no standard diagnostic criteria, and there is little research on how common it is or the treatment. Advocates suggest that misophonia can negatively affect the ability to achieve life goals and enjoy social situations.

Treatment consists of developing coping strategies through cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.


Signs and symptoms

As of 2016, the literature on misophonia was limited.1] Some small studies show that people with misophonia generally have strong negative feelings, thoughts, and physical reactions to specific sounds, which the literature calls “trigger sounds.”

  • These sounds are soft, but they can be loud.
  • One study found that about 80% of the sounds were related to the mouth (eating, slurping, chewing or gum, whispering, etc.), and about 60% were repetitive.
  • A visual trigger can be developed related to the sound of the stimulus.
  • It also seems that an adverse reaction can occur without a natural sound.
  • Reactions to triggers can include aggression towards the source of the sound, leaving it, staying in its presence but suffering, trying to block it, or imitating it.
  • The first maleficent reaction can occur when a person is young and can originate from someone in a close relationship or a pet.
  • People with misophonia are aware that they experience it, and some consider it abnormal; the disruption it causes in their lives ranges from mild to severe.
  • Avoidance and other behaviors can make it difficult for people with this condition to achieve their goals and enjoy interpersonal interactions.

It causes

  • The mechanism of misophonia is unknown, but it appears that, like hyperacusis, it may be caused by dysfunction of the central auditory system in the brain rather than the ears.
  • The perceived origin and context of the sound appear to be essential in triggering a reaction.


  • There are no standard diagnostic criteria.
  • Misophonia is distinguished from hyperacusis, which is not specific to a given sound and does not involve a similarly strong reaction. Phonophobia is a fear of a particular sound but can occur with either.
  • It is not clear if people with misophonia usually have comorbid conditions or if there is a genetic component.

You can also read about: Fear Of Clowns: Origin, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment


  • The diagnosis of misophonia is not recognized in DSM-IV or ICD 10, and it is not classified as a hearing or psychiatric disorder.
  • It can be a form of synesthesia of sound emotions and has parallels with some diseases of anxiety.
  • As of 2015, it was unclear whether misophonia should be classified as a symptom or condition.


  • The prevalence is unknown; it is unknown whether men or women or older or younger people are more likely to have misophonia.


  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • There are no evidence-based treatments for the condition; Generally, healthcare providers try to help people cope by acknowledging what the person is experiencing and working on coping strategies.
  • A few small studies have been published on sound therapy similar to tinnitus retraining therapy and on cognitive behavioral therapy, particularly exposure therapy, to help people become less aware of the triggering sound.
  • Neither of these approaches has been sufficiently studied to determine their effectiveness.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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