Investigating Misophonia: A Review of the Empirical Literature, Clinical Implications, and a Research Agenda

Jennifer J. Brout, Miren Edelstein, Mercede Erfanian, Michael Mannino, Lucy J. Miller, Romke Rouw, Sukhbinder Kumar, and M. Zachary Rosenthal

Excerpt: “Although the Jastreboffs’ original conceptualization of misophonia included aversive responding to sounds generated by both living beings and inanimate objects, many case reports specifically indicate that trigger sounds are generated by other people (e.g., other people chewing, smacking lips, coughing, throat clearing; Webber et al., 2014). However, it is important to note that individuals also report aversion to mechanical noises, such as air-conditioners, refrigerator humming, and/or noises emanating from pets (Møller, 2011; Cavanna and Seri, 2015). In addition, some case studies indicate that individuals with misophonia describe experiencing aversive responses to repetitively presented visual stimuli or movement, also known as misokinesia (e.g., seeing another person shaking their leg).”

Summary: “Misophonia is a neurobehavioral syndrome phenotypically characterized by heightened autonomic nervous system arousal and negative emotional reactivity (e. g., irritation, anger, anxiety) in response to a decreased tolerance for specific sounds. The aims of this review are to (a) characterize the current state of the field of research on misophonia, (b) highlight what can be inferred from the small research literature to inform treatment of individuals with misophonia, and (c) outline an agenda for research on this topic. We extend previous reviews on this topic by critically reviewing the research investigating mechanisms of misophonia and differences between misophonia and other conditions. In addition, we integrate this small but growing literature with basic and applied research from other literatures in a cross-disciplinary manner.”

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