*Excerpts from Correspondence that may be of Interest


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I took J, as I said I was planning in my last e-mail, to a physician. This seemed like a logical approach, though I was completely shocked at the outcome. On the positive side, she did have a hearing test by an audiologist who seemed to understand why I felt we were dealing with hyperacusis. The first thing I told her was that we had been in touch with an audiologist in Oregon, and she immediately asked me if it was you. I don't know if she knew you personally or by reputation, but she was very familiar with your work. I wish I had a copy of the results, but in a nutshell-- J's hearing appeared to be very normal. I believe it went down to a -5, but not -10 (although J said afterward that she had heard some lower sounds, but was afraid to press the button because she thought she might not really be hearing them). On the high end (and I don't know what that was), she had a sudden dip at the end (don't know if it was out of the range of normal or not).

I did ask the audiologist if -- had I not educated myself first and instead came in with just a description of J's symptoms -- she would still have diagnosed hyperacusis. She said "yes," definitely.

So, I'm going to put that thought on hold for a minute, and tell you about the visit with the doctor, which was very disappointing. He looked at her from a purely clinical standpoint-- he seemed to be fixed on the fact that she was prone to "rages" when the hearing sensitivity got really bad, and wanted to rule out the possibility of a tumor in her brain. He therefore ordered an MRI, and told me to have her evaluated by a pediatric neurologist. He also said she did not have hyperacusis. When I asked him why he felt that way, he said simply that he had been doing this for over 30 years, and basically, that this is what he thought. I showed him your description of what you were seeing in your practice, and he simply gave me a blank look, kind of shrugged, and said maybe I should take J to Oregon.

He also reiterated that she needed to have an MRI and see a neurologist, said he couldn't do anything else for her (other than report any irregularity in the MRI), and that if we wanted to arrange something between you and the audiologist, that would be fine. I am very disappointed, because when I researched this doctor (prior to making the appt), he seemed highly credentialed.

I was so upset, that when J and I left the building, the woman collecting parking fees through a glass window asked me twice if I was okay (I must have looked very pale).

Of course, this only increases my resolve to get J the best care possible. I have not made an appointment for an MRI-- that idea makes no sense to me, although I will discuss it withour pediatrician. It seems that if there were a tumor (God forbid), it would not show its symptoms quite so "selectively." Also, I can see no reason to consult a pediatric neurologist. She is under the care of a child psychiatrist who is monitoring her medicine.I can't imagine what a neurologist would say ... J has a hearing problem.

So, back to my original question. I keep putting this off, because I'm just not sure what to do. Also, J's behavior/symptoms seem to be all over the board. When I first contacted you, she was doing fine behaviorally (I thought because of the meds), but was still clearly having trouble with the sound sensitivity.

As the school year wound up (and summer started), she became very agitated and seemed to be suffering excessively from the sound. This week she has been calm and hasn't mentioned the sounds nearly as much-- though I know from experience that will change again.

I want to insure the best possible outcome, and I do feel that you are the only person who really gets it. I just have to weigh in the costs, vs the travel, vs the wear tear on J, scheduling issues, and on and on.

I would like to get information to help my 10 year old daughter who is suffering from hyperacusis. The problem is seriously disrupting her life. She can't stand the sound of eating utensils clinking against plates and crunching is horribly irritating to her, so she can't stand dining with anyone. All the noise at school bothers her so much she ends up missing lots of school. She is depressed and feels that her life is out of control.

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I have had a problem with eating sounds since I can remember. I cannot stand to be around people who eat loudly or smack their lips; also when people gulp liquid or chew gum it drives me crazy and I actually get very angry. I would be happy to help with your research by giving you any details you may need.

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I have posted on the board about my son, who may have both hyperacusis and hyperacuity? He's a complicated kid, Gifted and with APD, SDI, Asperger's, NLD diagnoses, the most sensitive hearing his OT has ever seen, and an almost post-traumatic stress type reaction to music.

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I become very anxious when I hear people eating. Chewing, swallowing, dish clinking, ice in a glass, crunching, smacking, even sometimes breathing. My sensitivities are broad, but the sounds that cause me the most discomfort and anxiety are small sounds made by human bodies.

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I agree chips and gum should be banned from the earth, I hate listening to people chew them. I have major anxiety attacks when eating in a quiet room with people crunching things, croutons, chips, nuts, crackers. I get major panic attacks and feel like i have to hit someone or run out of the room screaming. Luckily i can restrain these urges. You're not alone

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My son has had a big problem with this since about 7 yrs old that was one of our first signs something was wrong. He could hear my husband's jaw popping when he eats he also could hear people eating or breathing hard trying to eat and he couldnt eat in the same room with us without louer noise to block out the noises.

He's now 14 yrs old and won't go to a quiet resturant but he will a loud one.

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I was trying to figure out what my 12-year old daughter's problem is. She can't stand it when I pick my fingernails, when I swing my foot back and forth while sitting, when I talk on the phone, the ticking from the clock, it seems any motion I do repetitively. I think this is more than a noise problem. Can anyone point me in the right direction or have similar experiences? Any help would be greatly appreciated

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I too, like your daughter have the exact same intolerances - noises, visual, even certain scents.

I remember my mother tapping her fingers or walking upstairs, or chewing gum and I would ask her to stop making the noise or to quit moving her fingers in front of me because it bothered me. She kept saying I was being ridiculous.

I now have problems with neighbors who play music outside (loud) from 9am to 8pm which drives me nuts. Other neighbors seem to tolerate it or are able to ignore it. My husband also wiggles his feet near my line of vision and when I ask him to stop he starts laughing and doing it more.

I hope your daughter is able to successfully cope with this but please try to understand how difficult it is for her and not make her feel that she is being "crazy" or silly.

Being supportive and knowing how this is painful for your daughter and giving her someone that she can talk to about it will help her vent her feelings.

If you ever get some postive results for your daughter I would appreciate you notifying me back.

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Eating noises drive me crazy! (Mainly from my husband) I am a fairly passive person but when the room is quiet and I can hear him chewing, I get angry and want to throw something. I have no idea why I am like this.

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TWO SIBLINGS, PLUS MYSELF, OUT OF SEVEN SEEM TO EXPERIENCE THE UTMOST INTOLERANCE WHEN IT COMES TO EATING NOISES. WE ARE ALSO BOTHERED BY THE "FOOT SWINGING".

THERE ARE OTHER NOISES TOO..CLOCKS, CLICKING WHEN TRIMMING NAILS, FINGERNAIL CLICKING...

ONE OF US EXPERIENCES THE "LOUD" NOISES SYNDROME WHERE THE LOUD NOISES ARE JUST TOO MUCH FOR HER. SHE ALSO HAS DOWNS SYNDROME.

MY OLDER SISTER AND MYSELF, CANNOT SLEEP WITH OUR MATES BECAUSE OF SNORING, AND ALOT OF TIMES, MUST EAT SEPARATELY FROM THEM.
THIS CAUSES MUCH STRESS ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS.

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I googled "eating noises" and was very surprised to find I am not alone. I really thought I had a major social dysfunction. So, all my life I can't stand the sound of people eating. Why? It is so bad I isolate myself. What is to be done? Thanks.

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The main thing is to have background noise too. When I eat with my husband, I always have the TV on or music playing. I know all the marriage counselors would say we should not do this and have conversation, but for my sanity and his, I simply can't eat in silence.

When my husband sleeps, he sounds like a polar bear because he snores so loudly so we have slept apart for many years. It was difficult at first but we both wake up feeling better.

The clanking of dishes makes me nuts too. So, folks just knowing you all are out there makes me feel a whole lot better. I am not alone!

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I would just like to add - people SUCKING their teeth, those people who make the lip-smacky sound between every sentence they utter, people who SLURP coffee - all seem to have the same effect on me as my husband's eating popcorn. so i have to say, i'm glad its just not him. (and i NEVER tolerated the popcorn thing, even when we were just dating) PLUS, right now, i am sitting next to an IDIOT at work who is typing like he needs to put his finger right thru the keyboard, and talking/screaming on his cellphone. i can barely think to type this! so, its not just eating noises for me. as for stress-relieving exercises, i would love to relieve myself by putting my FIST thru his face right now....

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I suffer from the same - I can't stand things from eating to people talking when I am trying to get to sleep, so I can never really feel relaxed. I don't know whether this is due to my mother and father from when I was a small child saying If I carry on the way I am (me developing my personality), then I will turn out like people you hear about that can't stand things like eating and whether my knowledge of it has caused this?Or the fact that I have become depressed in the past and that this is an escape route - concentrating on something like eating noises, people talking, to take my mind off other things. Or the fact that my mother has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and whether a genetic factor of a form of control has resulted in me wanting a desire to control what I want to hear and what I don't want to hear? I really don't know the cause but I am researching psychology reasons for it. The only way I can really cope with it at the minute, is to be very strong willed and positive thinking which I have been recommeded to do every day can help control these feelings, but I think I might have to result to hypnosis as I have heard this can help an awful lot. My main fear is that it will get to be a lot worse - as from previous years to now it has deterioated, so thats why I know I have to do something about this before it ruins me altogether.

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I get into MAJOR arguments with my father, over how he eats. He smacks, and just eats like a barbaric person.... it doesn't so much hurt, as drive me batty! I usually try to either eat after him, or eat in a different room. And with my thing with silverware, I can't go to a loud restaraunt.... I usually eat in seclusion, because between smacking and silverware, I can't stand it.... I'm not aware my dad knows that this is related to hyperacusis(I just found out!), so I never had much of an argument... I can't ask him not to because he says not to correct adults! ANYTHING he eats is annoying, be it chips, milkshake, chicken, steak, Salad... you name it! I used to try to subliminally cover my ears, but my dad gets mad at that and says "It's rude!". My worst nightmare is when we get snacks in the car.... Cause it is almost always to cold to roll down the window and stick my head out of it, so I have to deal with it! My dad always tells me "I need to get over it because in the real world you're gonna encounter people who eat ALOT worse than me.". What can I do?

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Does anyone get physically angry when being subjected to these noises? I can be in a great mood, looking forward to a nice afternoon/evening, and the whole thing can be ruined simply by being exposed to eating noises. I'll get immediately angry and have the urge to slam my fist into the wall. It's temporary, and after I leave the room and get away from the noises I can quickly and readily return to 'normal', but during the exposure, I'm a mess. Jaw popping or loud crunching can literally force a physical reaction to cover my ears or get away from the sound, but the urge to physically lash out at it is always there as well. I can even catch a couple of crunching sonds as someone walks by at the office and be severely affected.

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I imagine someone who doesn't mind these kinds of noises not being able to understand it, but I'm glad I've found that I'm not alone in being near completely intolerant to them.

I can trace back to my early childhood and being told to close my mouth while eating in a fairly angry manner by family members, so I'm guessing that I either inherited the intolerance in a much more vivid form, or I became overly sensitized to the noises during my childhood due to the constant angry reminders to keep my mouth closed while eating.

In any event, it hasn't improved over the years (I'm now 31), if anything it's increased in aggravation levels.

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I am 15 years old, and I DESPISE crunching, smacking, licking fingers, toenail clipping etc. It just makes me want to throw something or hit something. Anyway, my mom has taken me to a psychologist when I was much younger, maybe around 5 or 6, because of these noises. The lady said that she thought it was because I had a "high intelligence" and was a lot more mature for my age. Im beginning to think that her conclusion COULD have been correct (not that I want to sound conceited :) ). I'm pretty sure it works for some people. So, yeah. level of intelligence could be one possible reason. I'm guessing that one with a high intelligences' brain works much different in ways as to one with an average intelligence....or low intelligence...I'm not sure...the brain I find is a quite mysterious thing...

Anyways, I just wanted to open up my opinion on this topic. Thanks for lsitening

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My daughter, who is 12 years of age, began to show signs of sensitivity to noises mostly bodily and environmental at age 10. To her it is a fight or flight situation. Started with me eating crunchy cereal, father snorting loudly (clearing sinuses). The next six months it increased to blinker on car, walking on carpet, fingernail filing, etc. These trigger noises set off a horrible rage in her. We were living in Germany at the time and I did not have access to medical care, o.k. good medical care. I waited until we moved to N. C. and took her to a Child Psychiatrist who didn't have a clue, never had heard of the sensitivity to noise problem. I had a hard time trying to find help. Eventually, moved again and she has been diagnosed with Early Childhood Bipolar Disorder. Recently, at my insistence I asked to have her hearing evaluated because it seemed to me that the rage problems always came from the trigger noises. She was tested and determined to have hyperacusis. Her hearing range is in the negative decible range. Things like fingernail filing, crumbling of paper all are high frequency noises.

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Eating noises enrage me! I suffer from Severe phonophobia/misophonia,
and if there was help or a cure, I would devote my ENTIRE LIFE to it. I have to wear earplugs constantly. Anyone know of a cure or help?

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I've been close to boiling point and on the verge of exploding due to the noises a colleague makes at work. Loud coffee slurping, slurping melons, peaches. Wide open mouthed chewing, smacking noises, open mouthed crunching at a ridiculous volume!!! Coupled with a big gob, loud voice and ridiculously loud typing I would happily smash her face in! But how can I explain how I feel without appearing to be insane??

THe open mouthed chewing, of course, leads to increased air intake and an open mouthed belch which is either following by a baby giggle noise or a baby-voiced "excuuuuse me!".

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!

Comments, questions? Contact Dr. Marsha Johnson.

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