How to stop Misophonia from destroying your relationship

Couple sitting at the breakfast table, having an argumentMisophonia, sometimes called selective sensitivity syndrome, is sensitive to specific sounds. Some common triggers include the consumption of sounds such as chewing, throat sounds, nasal sounds such as a person blowing their nose and repetitive noises, such as tapping or clicking on a pen.

Although it is a potentially difficult symptom, misophonia is not a mental health diagnosis. A study of 2015 with more than 300 people with misophonia found that only 2.2% had a mental health condition.

Misophonia can be extremely unpleasant for both the person with misophobia and their loved ones. It can cause conflicts in relationships and make it difficult for couples to go to some public places. In addition, the sensitivity to the sounds made by a romantic partner can be harmful and feels autocratic or critical.

How Misophonia Affects Relationships

People with misophonia can fight to gain comprehension and acceptance from their partner. A partner can reject misophonia, arguing that the individual is very sensitive or controlling. The person with misophonia can also be critical to their partners when they make noise perceived to be annoying.

In relationships, misophonia can be a source of conflict, feelings of evil and criticism on both sides. Some common issues include:

  • Taking the kids together. Many children make intense, disturbing or repetitive noises. This can make it difficult to distribute the burden of parental responsibility fairly and can also cause anger or impatience with the child.
  • Getting to the public. Misophonia's common faults include the sounds of people who eat, banging sounds such as pens and watches, sounds related to driving and movement and other people's sounds.
  • Eating together. Many people with misophonia are sensitive to sounds like chewing and silver scraping on a plate.
  • Understanding and Recognizing Dysphonia. The partner of a person with misophonia may think that his partner exaggerates or is too critical. The person with misophonia may not understand that their sensitive response to sounds is not typical.

A person with misophonia is not only annoyed by some sounds; they find these sounds unacceptable. Some even describe the feeling as physically painful while others experience frustration and disgust. Within a relationship, both partners may feel they have to plan their lives around misophonia. When a partner of a person with misophonia makes an activation sound, he may feel judged, ashamed and criticized.

People with misophonia can fight to gain comprehension and acceptance from their partner. A partner can reject misophonia, arguing that the individual is very sensitive or controlling.

Tips for the Misophonia relationship

People with misophonia can improve their relationships with:

  • Speaking openly with their partner for their misfortune.
  • Seeking individual therapy for misophonia. Some research shows that the way a person emotionally processes their sounds can lead to misophonia, and treatment can help.
  • Removal of medical causes. Some studies show that grief is present in 60% of people with tinnitus (persistent ring in the ears). Autism, sensory processing disorder, and other diagnoses may also play a role in misophonia.
  • Talking about how some sounds make you feel but blame or shy your partner. Voicing the sound of chewing may be bad. Telling your partner that strong chewing makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, even when you love the other person, is often more productive.
  • Apply strategies to manage your emotional reactions. Deep breathing, visualization and positive affirmations, for example, can help with angry reactions to everyday sounds.
  • Determine your triggers. The more you can get, the better. A strategy to deal with misophonia is to slowly expose yourself to your exercises in low doses and in low anxiety situations. This strategy works best with the help of a therapist or doctor.
  • Try to carry the earplugs when you go out to the public. This can allow you and your partner to enjoy yourself in public settings that might otherwise prove difficult or overwhelming.

People in relationships with collaborators who have misophonia can support their relationship and their partners:

  • Taking seriously the misophonia. If your partner says they can not bear a sound, believe them and become aware of their feelings. Your partner may feel panic, anger or pain in response to sounds that are neutral or just gently annoying for you.
  • Exercise self-service. If your partner can not go to specific places or do activities you like, do it yourself or hire a friend.
  • Separating your partner's reaction to sounds from their feelings for you. It can be bothered if your partner does not like the sound you are doing, such as chewing or pressing a pen. This reaction is about sound, not about your feelings.
  • Making reasonable accommodation for your partner's needs. If you make a sound that your partner can not tolerate – such as chewing with your mouth open – it is easy to feel defensive. But when this sound is something you can easily change, try to do it. People make many changes, small and big, in relationships. Recalling yourself about this event can make it easier to change the sounds you do.
  • Helping your partner identify the misophonia trigger factors. Try narrowing down a list of specific actuators. For example, "traffic sounds" are vague and make the many public excursions difficult. Unlikely elasticity of tires is more specific. This information makes it easier to process your partner's sound sensitivity.

Little research on misophonia supports specific therapies and no medication has been approved for the treatment of misophonia. Preliminary data, however, suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be effective. A study of 2017 to 90 people with misophonia found that 48% had a significant reduction in the symptoms of misophonia with CBT.

Counseling Pairs and Misophonia

Individual counseling can help a person with misophonia to better understand diagnosis and exercises, develop skills and perhaps even overcome their exercises through progressive exposure.

Counseling for couples can help partners understand the needs of others and can empower both partners to stop misophonia from undermining their relationship and quality of life. A sympathetic therapist can:

  • Help couples enlist ways to work around misophonia.
  • Encourage partners to better balance family and homework when misophonia performs certain tasks – such as caring for baby crying – difficult.
  • Trust with the feelings of the other. People with misophonia may feel redundant and misunderstood by their collaborators who may feel criticized or judge for their own sounds or dissatisfaction that misophonia restricts the activities they can do together.
  • Strengthening productive communication that avoids responsibility and shame.
  • Teach couples skills to promote intimacy and proximity even when some excursions and missions are impossible.

The right therapist helps both partners feel respectable and safe. Therapists offer unresolved solutions to the confidentiality of a completely confidential session and can help you set goals that are in line with your values. Find a therapist near you who can help you.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Kumar, S., Hancock, D., Cope, T., Sedley, W., Winston, J., & Griffiths, T. D. (2014). Misophonia: A disturbance in the processing of sounds by emotions. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 8(85). Retrieved from
  2. Palumbo, D. B., Alsalman, O., Ridder, D.D., Song, J., & Vanneste, S. (2018). Misophonia and Possible Mechanisms: A Perspective. The border in psychology, 9. two: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2018.00953
  3. Schröder, A.E., Vulink, N.C., Loon, A.J., and Denys, D.A. (2017, August 1). Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in misophonia: An open trial. Journal of emotional disturbances, 217, 289-294. Retrieved from

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