Sound sensitive symptoms can manifest in various forms, from fear of sounds, known as phonophobia, to hyperacusis, which is reduced tolerance for moderate to loud sounds, to a special kind of sound sensitivity known as misophonia or sometimes called Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome.
In the 1980s, Dr. Pawel Jastreboff noticed these cases and began to report on them over time, and the term misophonia was coined to represent this condition. At the same time, Dr. Marsha Johnson, audiologist, was also identifying similar cases on the west coast and chose the term listed above, shortened to 4S over time.
Those who suffer from this condition often have a very strong dislike or even hatred of particular sounds. These sounds are often normal everyday noises that do not bother other people, like chewing, lip licking or smacking, breathing, clearing of throats, certain pronunciations of particular sounds like p or k or s, or other noises.
Most often this condition has an onset in pre puberty and the subjects can often recall very clearly the first episode. Over time, the trigger sounds tend to expand and become more entrenched in the average sufferer.
Misophonia/4S affects the person’s entire life, often, as noises and sounds permeate nearly every human condition. This can affect social, work and everyday life. Most often these individuals have perfect hearing or even slightly better than average hearing. They are often perfect specimens of health and development without other serious maladies.
There appears to be a genetic component in this disorder, often family members share these issues.
Assessment and diagnosis is very important as often misphonics are referred to psychological counselors for assumed emotional conditions or placed on drug therapies that do not appear to address the misophonia.
A group of medical professionals, audiologist who are highly trained in auditory disorders, has founded a website dedicated to the assessment and treatment of misophonia, you can find a regional center at www.misophonia-provider.com.
A support group has been created a Yahoo.com known as soundsensitivity. The moderator is Dr. Marsha Johnson, Audiologist.
A recent NYT article (9-6-2011) "For People With Misophonia, a Chomp or a Slurp May Cause Rage." and an appearance on the Today Show (9-8-2011) sparked a huge interest in misophonia/4S and will likely result in greater attention and possibly official research into the field.
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Comments, questions? Contact Dr. Marsha Johnson.