By Naomi Roberts, Co-Founder, Flare Audio
Hi everyone - I'm Naomi, co-founder of Flare Audio. In my spare time I love long walks by the sea, listening to music and going to gigs, and (when time allows!) drawing.
I wanted to share with you my sound sensitivity story - for me it's Misophonia.
What is Misophonia?
The word Misophonia comes from the Ancient Greek word for ‘hatred of sound’ and in a nutshell that is exactly what it is.
In fact, for me, the sound of nutshells and someone eating peanuts are just a couple of examples of the noises that can drive me to distraction.
It’s difficult to put into words how it makes me feel when I can’t get away from a sound that I hate. Words like irritating and annoying just don’t do seem to do the big feelings I have justice. I am painfully aware that my reaction to these sounds (and my silent reaction to the person making them!) may seem extreme and unfair but often the annoyance I feel is difficult to ignore. That coupled with a need to be polite in all situations can make it a very tricky thing to navigate.
For me the noises that cause me the most stress and (dare I say it) repulsion are pretty much exclusively sounds associated with eating and general mouth noises. The strength of my reaction to these noises is often dependent on how I am feeling at the time – if I’ve had a particularly stressful day for example my reaction will be stronger and harder to ignore.
From what I’ve read the majority of people who suffer from misophonia are triggered by a range of often similar noises – however the ferocity of the reaction can vary greatly from person to person.
This hypersensitivity to certain sounds can trigger a fight / flight response. Some people can put up with the noise whilst feeling uncomfortable, whereas others feel so overwhelmed and anxious / angry / emotional / all of the above that they may need to leave the environment they are in and get away from the noise as quickly as possible.
Calmer and Misophonia
I’m lucky because I fit in the ‘annoyed but can just about put up with it’ bracket and for me the most simple way to overcome the stress of these noises is simply to wear Calmer.
I had already been wearing Calmer in noisy places like supermarkets, travelling, busy shops etc but it wasn’t until I was at a meal with a particularly noisy eater (think chewing as oppose to crunching for the noise that grates the most for me) that I thought to pop Calmer in my ears. The relief was instant. I could still hear all sounds but the irritating effects had gone.
For me my right ear feels more sensitive than my left and I know from having moulds of my ear that my right ear canal is much more narrow. From the research we've done we've learnt how our ear canals resonate sound and how this has an effect on why we hear things differently to each other.
Since launch we’ve been contacted by a lot of people who have found that Calmer have helped them to cope with the negative impact of Misophonia. You can read some of the feedback below on this page.
Treatments like CBT, meditation and mindfulness can all help with the emotional reactions that can surface when an irritating noise presents itself and there are now a lot of useful websites that have helpful articles and research about the condition.
But meanwhile, I’m grateful to have Calmer to help me deal with these sounds day to day, and we’re so happy that they’re helping others in our community too.
Find out more about Calmer here.