Question: What is this aversion to certain noises/sounds called?
It’s called misophonia.
It literally translates as “hatred of sound”. Miso comes from the Ancient Greek for hate and phonia means sound.
Question: What do we know about it?
Relatively few studies of misophonia have been made. That’s one of the reasons I set up this site – to try and pool our collective knowledge and experiences into one place. I’ve listed the major studies into misophonia and sound sensitivity for you here. If you want to jump to the good stuff you’ll find the best overview of all the evidence to date is in this systematic review.
The more we can uncover about this condition the more we’ll be able to discover about how it works. Further evidence may lead to more scientific studies which may lead to possible treatments/coping strategies.
Question: How serious is it?
This entirely depends on the individual and their environment. How do you see your misophonia? Do you have access to quiet spaces or are you constantly bombarded by noise? Many misophones have adopted coping techniques that help them go about their day and take part in normal activities. Others can find it significantly affects their relationships and work life.
Question: Is misophonia genetic?
A study conducted by 23andMe in 2015 suggested there may be a link between the gene variant rs2937573 and misophonia. In a study of 80,000 respondents around 20% reported that they were “filled with rage” by the sound of others eating.” However, we cannot now say with certainty that if you have this gene variant you will have misophonia. Multiple genes may well be involved and there may also be a greater role played by epigenetics (whereby environment can have an impact specific genes being ‘switched on and off’). You can see more on this here.
Question: Is misophonia hereditary?
Great question and it makes sense to refer you to the answer above for more detail. The short answer is that there may well be a link between the gene variant rs2937573 and misophonia. However, we cannot say with certainty that if you have this gene variant you will have misophonia (there may be other genes and factors involved). For example epigenetics may be important (whereby environment/events can result in certain genes being ‘switched on and off’).
Question: I think I suffer from misophonia, am I mad?
No. You just have super sensitive, super amazing (but often infuriating) sensory antennae.