Misophonia Symptoms and Signs
Sufferers experience a mixed-range of misophonia symptoms and triggers and are often faced with varying degrees of discomfort. If you believe you may have the disorder you can use this check-list.
The following are common characteristics that have been reported by misophonia sufferers. Currently there are not enough studies and not enough diagnostic criteria to have a medically-vetted comprehensive list of symptoms.
“Triggers” are usually sounds, but can also be visuals. Most of the symptoms involve an aversion to sound and visuals. These usually lead to a fight/flight response and an aversive reaction. While there is no official treatment for misophonia, you can find advice for coping and updated treatment intel here.
When looking for a cure for misophonia it is important to understand that diagnosis may not be easy to obtain. However, you can contact a professional to discuss a possible diagnosis for misophonia. This may not be “official” as the disorder does not yet have diagnostic criteria, but an understanding professional can work with you to help find a solution. Dr. Linda Girgis, an MD, hopes that misophonia patients will discuss their options with their doctor, even if they are worried about stigma.
If you believe you have misophonia, you can look below for the common misophonia signs and symptoms. Please note that since there is no official classification for misophonia, much of this is based on anecdotal evidence or small-scale studies.
Aversion to sights/sounds
Persons with misophonia are distinguished from other disorders because they are overly responsive to sounds, and secondly, visuals. (you can find a list of common misophonia triggers here). Whistling, chewing, tapping, leg swaying, clicking, and even improper spelling (such as text-speak) can also be noxious.
Heightened anxiety due to fight/flight
Persons with misophonia can become anxious awaiting triggers. Dr. Stephen Porges suggests in his podcast that misophonia sufferers are unlikely to “calm down” simply because triggers are no longer present. Like a switch stuck on, misophonia sufferers live in a constant state of fear, then fight/flight.
Withdrawal from family/friends
Since misophonia has been associated with persons closest to the individual (with family and friends being present more than other individuals), misophonia sufferers may withdraw from family events. Triggers can be traumatizing, and it can make relationships harder to maintain.
While there is no solid proof as of yet, many with misophonia have reported migraines. This requires thorough research and the IMRN would love to study this further, if funding becomes available in the future.
Like migraines, there is no proof yet other than anecdotal evidence, but many with misophonia feel sick and lethargic. Dr. Stephen Porges discusses the “sickness” we feel in his podcast.
There has been research on Sensory Processing Disorder for decades. Persons with misophonia share an overlap of symptoms with SPD, though persons with misophonia suffer heavily from Sensory Over-responsivity, which is a sub-set of the disorder. These heightened senses can include:
- Trouble with touch (different fabrics and surfaces)
- “Scent allergies”. Many persons who are over-responsive become aroused (or even feel sick) when faced with noxious scents
- Sensitivity to lights. Commonly lights that arouse the sensory system are unnatural lights such as fluorescent lighting
- Sensitivity to hot/cold. Do you not like hot air in your face? Or cannot handle winter breezes? This may be a sign of a sensory struggle.