Louise’s story | British Tinnitus Association

Louise is 31 and has lived with misophonia all her life. Here she explains the impact it has on her.

Even the sound of my own voice can annoy me!

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t sensitive to certain sounds, but I’ve only realised that it’s an actual condition with a name in the last five years or so.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether the volume of my trigger sounds is high or low – I will react. I get angry and frustrated and it’s as if a rage comes over me, but I am learning to calm my reactions.

I find the sounds of other people eating to be a big trigger but even the sound of my own voice can annoy me. When I was younger, I would only sit down to a family meal once a year, at Christmas. Even then I would go straight up to my room afterwards, which made my mum very sad.

Seeking support

Person sitting behind a steering wheel in a vehicleFor a long time, I didn’t ask for help. I had a guilty conscience about asking for support because I thought it would be wasting the doctor’s time. However, I am now receiving counselling and getting support to help me to control my emotions, and I have been working on exposing myself to more noises.

I am now actually able to eat out with others in a restaurant or if I’m out and about. There does have to be noise in the background though, and sometimes I have to play games on my phone. These both help my brain go somewhere else and treat the sound of eating as a background sound, so it’s not too bad.

Tackling challenges

My current challenge is managing the reactions to eating sounds at work. I work in a small office, with thin walls and no break room. My manager eats her lunch next to me – it’s like a pair of speakers blasting in my ears. Fortunately, my boss is okay with me listening to music through little headphones.

At other times, headband speakers are the best thing ever, especially at night. I also practice butterfly breathing, which makes a fluttering noise inside my ears. When it does get too much, and I can feel the rage building, I step out and go and do something else instead. These things are really working for me, but I still have some way to go.

I hope that by sharing my story I can help others to really understand what it’s like to live with misophonia.

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