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Be quiet! For some, noise drives them into a rage

Condition called Misophonia can be treated with therapy

ORLANDO, Fla. – You've heard the phrase, "It's like nails on a chalkboard."

It may be an annoying sound, but what if certain sounds actually made you angry and unable to think about anything else?

[WEB EXTRA: More info on Misophonia | Support groups ]

It's a real condition called Misophonia.

Paul Dion loves playing the keyboard in his spare time, but it's not just for fun. It's therapy; an escape from sounds most of us probably don't even notice.

"Mouth noises like sneezing, coughing, chewing.  Those are the types of things I can only hear for a few seconds before I react very strongly," said Dion who has misophonia which causes a person to have a negative reaction to certain sounds.

Audiologist Gwen Kandula says misophonia is different than more common sound sensitivity or a ringing in the ear.  

"Misophonia is really thought of as a hatred of sound, but it's not just of any sound.  It's a very specific sound that we refer to as trigger sounds," said Kandula, Au.D a board-certified doctor of audiology.

A person's reaction to trigger sounds can vary in severity from feeling anxious and tense, to full blown anger.

The first signs of the condition often show up in adolescence and while their hearing is normal-- their reaction to certain sounds is heightened.

The most common trigger sounds for misophonia are bodily noises like chewing, finger tapping.

even breathing.

Professor Aage Moller has been studying the brain for decades.

The professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas says she doesn't think can change it, avoid it, or overcome it.

Unfortunately, there is no real cure but "exposure therapy" has shown some promise for patients. 

"Eventually they get to a point where even if those sounds may still bother them somewhat and they don't have is an extreme a reaction as they did when it was in its full course,"said Kandula.

"I wish people would have an understanding that misophonia is real, it affects people very strongly, and it can. It can really affect their life negatively," said Dion.

Dion runs a support group where people with misophonia can share their experiences.


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