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Rsingleton 11-11-2009 01:55 PM

Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
[FONT="Arial Narrow"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"][/FONT][/FONT]Hi. I'm hoping some one might be able to point me in the right direction for help with the problem outlined below. It's getting more and more severe and I'm getting more and more shut down by it. I'm in my late 40's now and saw my first therapist for this in college. Since then I've seen a total of 7 therapists; two psychiatrists, three psychologists and two hypnotherapists. None of them were able to help and none of them really seemed familiar with this type of issue --they didn't know of similar cases and didn't seem to have any particular insight on how to approach it. I've got to believe that somewhere out there is a professional who will hear this story and know what it is and how to approach it and that's what I'm hoping to find here.

My "problem", as best I can describe it because it's rather strange, is with severe irritation to particular noises and visual inputs although using the word "severe" is a tremendous understatement. These "irritations" can enrage me to an extent it's difficult to describe. It's almost like a switch is flipped in my brain. These irritations started when I was around 6 years old with just one stimulus. Unfortunately, over time that one "stimulus" has grown to include many other things that are vaguely similar to the original stimulus. I'll try not to write on forever but here's a synopsis of things from the beginning.

Around six years old, my Mom's snapping of her gum began to bother me. She was a prolific gum chewer and almost every other chew of her jaw would produce a pop from her gum. (Just writing this angers me enough to want to throw my ****ing keyboard out the window). Soon, it was not just the snapping that bothered me but merely the sight of her chewing gum would do it as well although the actual popping noise still produced the most rage. I dealt with it by trying to put up with it, avoiding it, complaining about it, getting her to throw out her gum but whatever I did was no match for the rage that would come on when exposed to this. I could never put a dent in it. When exposed to someone else who was popping their gum, I would flee if I could.
--I now think of my Mom's gum popping as the "original and primary" irritation.

Within less than a year, this irritation had grown to include my family's eating noises. (I now think of all the other irritations that grew from the original gum popping as "secondary.")
I hated to sit down at the table with my family for meals or be around my brother when he ate his cereal in the morning. I would throw tantrums at the table and get sent to my room to eat; this was a huge relief because i was away from the irritation. When it became obvious to my parents sending me to my room wasn't a good solution, they forced me to stay at the table for meals. This was excruciatingly unbearably and I would sit there and try and put up with it, kind of feeling like my head was going to explode the whole time and some how make it through most meals. Things that were crunchy were the worst; salad, chips, raw vegetables, carrots etc.

Little by little, the problem expanded. Soon, my family's breathing noises began to bother me. Sleeping with some one else in the room, overnight camping trips or a stay in a motel room with the family were terrible. Then, I guess "building" on the eating noises, I couldn't stand hearing the clink and clatter of my family using their spoons/knife/forks while eating ie I'm in my bedroom with the door shut and my Dad's eating his bowl of cereal in the kitchen and a million frigging times his spoon hits the bowl, especially at the end when he just has to get every single last molecule of milk and cereal out of the bowl. Here's another weird one; my Dad would always sit in the living room or in front of the TV with his legs crossed and the ankle of his crossed leg he would rotate around and around and around. I couldn't stand this.
My response to living where so many things drove me crazy was to spend as much time alone away from my family as possible.

Up through high school, the number of items that bothered me "grew" slowly. And here's an interesting observation: the original, primary irritation of my Mom's popping gum that enraged me so much ..... if a stranger popped their gum, it would produce a huge reaction from me while if this stranger did something that was a "secondary" irritation, it wouldn't bother me as much. ie I could be in a cafeteria with friends eating and it wasn't much of a problem; I could be with a friend who was chewing gum but not popping it and it would bug me but not enrage me, I could be in a restaurant with friends and do ok. As I got older this began to change. Even by the time I was into high school I was noticing I could no longer go to a movie because of all the people eating their ****ing popcorn. All that chewing noise would just enrage me. Now it wasn't just my family's chewing noises but others chewing crunchy stuff that would do it.

Into college and for the last 20+ years since, my irritations have grown to include many more things and my reactions to them are stronger and quicker. I've been dumbfounded by this over the years and think it's the strangest thing. I avoid restaurants, movie theaters and will never ever put myself in a group situation such as attending a play, lecture or talk. There's always someone there doing something that sets me off. Still at the top of the list is popping gum or even the sight of someone chewing gum; I can't even stand to have the TV on a baseball game because so many of the players chew gum. Clicking, snapping noises are bad, finger nail clippers are the worst.
But many other things do it as well. Here's one of them that's bizarre: almost any oscillatory, repetitive motion someone does pisses me off ie I'm in a book store in front of a row of books and out of the corner of my eye I see someone who's sitting in a chair and bouncing their leg up and down, I hate it. Or I'm in my car at a stop light and the women in front of me is repetitively curling a length of her hair around her finger, over and over and over again, I can't stand it a have to look away. Noise and clatter in general now puts me on edge to the extreme.
It feels to me as if there's literally a physical nerve path in my brain that's burned into place and somehow all these stimuli find their way onto this burned in path that goes straight to my centers for rage.

Through the psychiatrist's I've tried many of the modern antidepressants and also gave Depakote and Neurontin a try. None of these had an effect on the irritations. One psychologist tried some learned relaxation responses and another (who was quite good and I spent multiple years with) did more conventional therapy and while I got lot of insight from it, it also had zero effect on the irritations. Needless to say, living like I do is a huge set up for depression. But at least I feel there's a reason for the depression; I think if anyone lived this way depression would be an issue.
The only other thing I can add is this problem with noises apparently began after returning from a stay in the hospital when I was around 6. I was there for a week with a blood infection, continuously had a very high fever and was delirious for some of the time due to the fever. My parents tell me there were a couple days when the docs were giving them a poor prognosis for me. My Mom says she thinks it was sometime after this that I began getting weird about noises. I'm not sure there's any link. It definitely could be a coincidence.
Anyone have any idea's on this? My resiliency is almost exhausted and life is quite difficult.

mad molly 12-05-2009 04:42 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
oh my god i so know where you are coming from... im not even sure you will get this message as ive noticed you have only posted once in november then no more... i hope you do get to know that ive replied and hopefully you will get in touch and we can go from there... there is a diagnosis for it... i would be so happy to hear from you so to give you some hope

Rsingleton 12-07-2009 04:36 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Hi Mad Molly, Thanks for your reply.

mad molly 12-08-2009 04:31 AM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
hi there... the name of what we have is misophonia, it can also be known as 4S which stands for sensory selective sound syndrome... t

i would like to end by saying thankyou so much for your first posting... it was because of that that got the ball rolling for me, finally, seeing that its not just me, im not a freak, this does actually exist... i knew then that i wouldnt let this lie....

.... i really hope that i have given you some hope for this... and hope that i hear from you again... lets beat this thing ...

Rsingleton 12-09-2009 12:12 AM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Hi, yes, I also just received this reply from a docand was surprised she came up with a word I'd never heard of, Misophonia. It seems to exactly match what I've been experiencing.

I can actually remember years ago telling a few of the docs I saw that it seemed like sensory signals "were being directly routed to my limbic system" and funny enough,

Misophonia seems somewhat unknown which I guess is why the people I saw never had a clue about it. Glad to have found it even though it took 40 years. Ha! Are you planning any treatment for it?

xSharronx 12-09-2009 11:32 AM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Hello, I know I'm late on this thread but your personal sruggle (Rsingleton) has been nearly IDENTICAL to my own. I'm replying to thank you for helping me realize I am not a "freak" and not alone. I googled the words "OCD noises rage" and lo and behold I've found what I'm looking for. I found several sites and blogs that describe loudness and hyperacusis....but nothing explaining or describing a disturbing visual aspect associated with immediate discomfort and rage.

My irritation level has spiked as of late, and it's affecting me to the point where my family members are eating upstairs or eating in fear to avoid my comments and mood alterations. I am also experiencing distress even when I, myself eat or make certain noises. (Slurping coffee, cereal, spoons hitting bowls, etc etc. (I've criticized my mother for "playing with her food" because she does what you described your father to do---scraping hte bowl a million $%#@! times to get every last bit of food!)

I turn the tap on full blast in bathrooms to avoid hearing those horrible sounds, and I crank music during meals. People notice and life has become quite difficult.

I'm really hoping that Misophonia/4S will lead me to SOME kind of treatment. Thank you for your post!!!

friendlione 12-09-2009 01:54 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.

I am sensitive to sounds and even my own body noises and cannot stand to use ear plugs because I hear my heart thump, thump, thump. Stress exacerbates the sensitivity, so as much as we try to ignore stressors the worse it gets. Obviously we can't make the whole world and our own bodies shut up. WE can make ourselves more nervous and stressed by trying to stop the irritators and the irritations. [I]There are solutions, though![/I] In every case of out of control sensitivity, we must help ourselves, which is why no one outside of ourselves can fix us.

Drugs taken to supposedly lower reaction to stressors often have side effects as bad as the sensitivity, and they use up B vitamins that are need to feed the nerves and make the nerves relax. The solution, I found, is two-fold. We need to learn and daily practice deep relaxation techniques (what will work is different for every person), and to feed our nerves. B is a delicate vitamin group that needs to be balanced by the other B vitamins, and can be easily taken in a balanced form in brewer's yeast, or taken by pills called B-100 or B-50

No matter how well we eat, everyone that does not regularly eat raw whole grains every day (which includes probably most people) is vitamin B complex deficient, and it is B vitamins that feed the nerves. Vitamin B is non toxic and does not store in the body. It is water soluble so that whatever is not used for the day is washed out of the body in urine, and also the day's stress, drugs, and non-foods that we eat use up whatever B we have eaten, very quickly. B vitamins are destroyed by heat, so if it is in anything that is cooked it is rendered useless.

Under extreme duress one may easily be unable to assimilate B complex vitamin pills and we may need to start with B in its natural balance from a natural food, such as brewer's yeast (available in bulk from health food stores). It [I]will[/I] over a few weeks time reduce irritability and sense sensitivity. It starts relaxing the nerves the first day it is taken and the effect grows the longer it is taken. Relaxed nerves absolutely do handle everyday noise and stress easily. You won't get taught this by a doctor.

If you can assimilate B complex in pills (you would feel your body relaxing after several day), great. When stressed it affects my digestion, so I need to use brewer's yeast. It has an overwhelming taste so I add it to apple or orange juice or some like it in water. To avoid a harmless gassy effect on the intestines, start with 1/4 teaspoon twice a day for a week or so, then work up to one well-rounded teaspoon of brewer's yeast a day.

When your digestion is good, take B complex pills as suggested on the bottle.
B vitamins decrease pain sensitivity, and healed nerves handles everything better! I need my brewer's yeast, right now!

Let me know if you try this...I hope you do!

friendlione 12-09-2009 02:02 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
I wantt to add that I have post traumatic stress disorder from the many disturbing and various experiences in my life...yes that does cause reactiveness and hyper sensitivity. This is real and we can all attest to it.

I am living proof that we can learn to MAKE our bodies relax with various techniques, proper rest, regular eating habits, forgiveness of ourselves and others, etc. and we need to do whatever it takes, because no one outside of ourselves can resolve it.

jessahanne 01-18-2010 04:11 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Wow! This sounds exactly like me, even to the source being my mother and her gum chewing habits. It's only gotten worse. The two things that bother me the most are gum popping and "snot sniffling". I tell people not to pop gum before I let it get me too upset. I hate college mainly because of the people in my class who chew and pop gum. I have to wear earplugs to make it through the day. The only person who does not bother me is my husband. He can do any of the things i hate, and it does not bother me. Also, I am pregnant and it seems my tolerance is even worse if that was even possible. How can i fix this???????

posterchild 04-14-2010 05:40 AM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Holy cow. Rsingleton, your post is my life story. What an incredible relief to find others like me.

posterchild 04-18-2010 02:56 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Now that I have a little time to write, I'll share my story and let you know how my doctor visit went the other day. I am 40 and last year I was diagnosed with ADHD. I suspected it for awhile, but in the process of reading about it, I read something about being annoyed by sounds. I had to interview certain people about myself to take to the neuropsychologist, and my Mom was one of those people. She said she remembers that as early as 6 years old I would stare daggers at my parents when they'd eat. I know I've been annoyed by their eating as long as I can remember but didn't realize I was that young when it started.

All along, if we were in a restaurant or if I had a friend over for dinner, I really didn't notice. I've been married for 9 years and in the last year or so, have noticed a bunch of things my husband does that annoys me. I'm really afraid it's going to take over my marriage the way it's taken over my family relationships.

One thing that isn't related to my family, is my annoyance at things like thumping bass that you can hear through walls. I swear I can hear the slightest bass noise from a mile away that no one else can hear.

My dad passed away in 1994, but the things that annoyed me were: his breathing through the nose, chewing, biting his nails or the skin around his nails, nail clipper sounds and the worst, his snoring. He could wake the dead and to this day, if I'm in the room with a loud snorer I go bonkers. I'm sure there were more but I can't recall them now. With my mom, there's the eating, slurping coffee, chewing gum, sneezing, sniffling and sighing. She also crushes her water bottles as she takes a swig. I jokingly tell her that gravity will take care of that but really, I want to rip the bottle out of her hand. She also has some non-sound habits that bug me. Anything involving touching her hair makes me nuts. Twisting her foot when she's sitting makes me nuts. She'll scratch her thigh lightly sometimes as she's driving and THAT makes me nuts. Snoring - she has an odd air blowing thing when she sleeps. It's not a snore, more like putting your lips together like you're going to give a kiss then blow air out.

It sounds like I have issues with my mom but I really don't. My mom is amazing and smart lovely and loving and well, cool. I want to enjoy being around her but I get really testy because of these things. All my life my parents wondered why I was so moody and cranky and most of the time it was because of these things.

Now it's happening with my husband. Cereal eating is the worst. I can't even be in the room anymore. If he even says "bowl of cereal" I want to rip my hair out. Eating noises are starting to annoy me almost all the time. Drinking from his water bottles, the sound of his glug-glugging makes me crazy. Breathing at night when I'm trying to sleep and snoring. Check. Annoyed. I've also noticed that he has a habit if he's eating and drinking a snack. If he's watching tv, he slowly takes a bite then slowly raises the glass and sucks the milk in. It's almost robotic though I'm sure it's more in my mind than reality.

I've always known this isn't normal but never had any idea that there was a name for this. All week I've been researching misophonia and trying to find anything that will help. Ok, so I mentioned the ADHD for two reasons. One, b/c the chewing issue came up w/ my mom, and two, because I've been on adderall since last summer. I knew it wasn't working anymore and was going to talk to my GP this past week about changing to something else. Plus, my annoyances were getting much worse.

In researching misophonia, I learned it's a disorder of the limbic system. Well, there's a form of ADHD that's limbic and it's treated with Wellbutrin, not "normal ADD" drugs, which can actually make the symptoms worse. The neuropsych seemed to think that my minor depression and anxiety would be relieved with the ADD treatment but maybe it's the other way around. Maybe it's my limbic system that's off and that has caused me to not be able to keep my attention, etc... Regardless, Wellbutrin it is and I'm hoping that in a couple weeks I'll see some changes. I'll let y'all know. Sorry to be so long winded!

OH and my GP said that when she was growing up she remembers wanting to rip her brother's head off when he'd eat cereal. So even people w/o this can relate sometimes.

BobbyDeez 05-13-2010 08:58 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
I know EXACTLY how you feel. I could have wrote almost exactly the same thing, except my first noise was people sucking their teeth. Every single thing you mentioned about not wanting to go to movies or resterants I can relate to, I thought I was just going nuts.

BobbyDeez 05-13-2010 09:22 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Theres just too many things to list that really bother me, the worst offenders are, Dogs barking, anything involving people eating, and bass comming through walls. These things really enrage me, I can't describe how angry this makes me and how unbearable life seems at times becuase of this problem. I wish I couldnt hear at all most of the time.

Molly123456789 08-23-2010 12:09 PM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Hi...Did you ever find anything to help you. I have EXACTLY the same thing. Started the exact time in my life. I feel like I am crazy and my daughter now has the signs too.

I cannot believe I have finally found out the name for this disorder: Misophonia

I cannot find a lot of information on line about it. Does anyone know where to find help?

emilymase 02-09-2011 12:14 AM

Re: Please help with unusual malady: extreme noise/visual irritation.
Thank you so much for everyone's comments. I have always felt that I was such an odd case of "OCD". I was diagnosed with OCD at age 11, but experienced these exact feelings as early as age 6 (that I can remember). Typical OCD usually includes cleaning obsessions or rituals, and while I do have my specific rituals, I have always had the noise irritations, which never really fit the definition of OCD. My current noise irritations (which I just call my OCD's) are any low hums such as cars passing by the house, the heater/air conditioner, and sometimes washer and dryer. My coping skills have improved tremendously and I have been completely off any medication for 4, almost 5 years now, but I still have these awful irritating and anxious feelings every day. Unfortunately, the only way for me to function is to wear earplugs inside my house. Because I have mentally decided that these earplugs will "muffle" the irritating feelings that I constantly have, I can now function normally. It's just a little embarrassing to explain to guests in our house when they ask why I have ear plugs in...

Growing up (especially in my teenage years) I have also had many visual upsets, such as people crossing their feet, picking their nails, twitching, elbows perfectly placed on air rests...the list was fairly large. The funny thing was it was always specific to certain people. Seeing my older brother with his elbows on the arm rests was extremely irritating to me, while seeing my next door neighbor doing it wasn't nearly as upsetting. You had said that even writing about your irritations made you want to scream or swear, which I could completely relate to since I had tried to cope with journal writing, but this would only bring up the awful feelings as if I were seeing/hearing them at that moment.

Anyways, the point is, I always felt alone and that I was so odd to have these strange irritations to specific noises that are NORMAL and shouldn't irritate someone. I felt like my irritation nerve was made wrong so that it was extremely sensitive to everyday normal noises. The feeling it brings is not only is irritation, anxiety, enragement, torment, and thinking "if I hear/see this thing ONE more time I am going to BURST into tears!"

I am 21 years old now and I truly feel that I have overcome a lot of these OCD's or irritations, or as some people have diagnosed it...misophonia. I will definitely look this up. I don't think this will ever go away unfortunately, because I have had these feelings as long as I can remember. In a way it is part of who I am. BUT! It has made me a stronger person. I am a college graduate, successful business owner of an Interior Design firm, a wife, and a mother to a beautiful 4 month old daughter. I think the key to success when you have these sorts of challenges in life is having the support of loved ones and believing in your own inner strength. That is the cure that no pill can provide.

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