Do You Hear What I Hear?

I never understood, when I was younger, why a static filled radio program filled me with so much anger that I couldn’t see straight.

A dripping sink did the same, and one winter, when we had a bit of a mouse problem, the tiny sounds of mice skittering under the floorboards had me in tears pretty much every night.

I’d get mad and explode, then get in trouble for exploding, and I had no way to explain why I was so mad.

Recently, I learned about Misophonia. It is a hearing disorder that makes sounds affect you in ways that they don’t affect others. Especially repetitive, or constant sounds.

Beyond the Misophonia, I also have sensitive ears, meaning that I often hear things that other people don’t. Certain types of TVs, for example, make a buzzing noise even when they are turned off. I can’t sleep in a room with that type of TV unless I have unplugged it.

Because several of the sounds that set off my Misophonia are out of the range of many people’s ears, it’s hard to explain why I am upset, even if people understand what Misophonia is. The weird looks I’ve been given because I say that there’s an annoying sound coming from somewhere, and no one else can hear it.

As annoying as Misophonia is, it’s good to at least have a diagnosis. I know a few specific things that are triggers, as well as knowing what the feeling is when I am starting to react poorly to some sound.

I often have earbuds with me, especially if I’ll be on a bus or something where I am around people who are making obnoxious noises. Telling someone to stop breathing is not often taken well.

There are people who use their Misophonia as an excuse to act horribly. Reader’s Digest did an article about Misophonia, and the main person spoken about would have rude reactions to a single knife scrape across a plate, or someone’s jaw popping.

We can’t control what things are our triggers, and we can’t entirely control our reactions, but as adults, we have a duty to at least try to curb our anger toward these noises. I do have bad days where I really struggle to react correctly in the face of several of my triggers. But, now that I know what I have a problem with, I do my best to self-divert.

I know that people aren’t making those noises on purpose, and I can ask them to stop, but I can’t force them. I can remove myself from the situation, or I can put my earbuds in, or do whatever else it takes to avoid lashing out.

I love sound. I love music, and I love walking out the door, calling my cats, and hearing them meow in response. I love talking to people. I’d hate to be deaf. But life with Misophonia is tough, and sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind a little bit of hearing loss.

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