A new cinema release is a film called Tar about a classical music conductor who happens to suffer from a condition called mysophonia, which is literally translated as a "hatred of sounds". Also called selective sound sensitivity syndrome, it is is a condition in which certain sounds trigger a strong reaction marked by irritation, anger, or aggression. Folk with mysophonia react in an extreme and often emotional way to certain trigger sounds.
Some triggers might cause so much distress that they begin to avoid certain situations and people as a result. For instance, if eating sounds usually trigger this response, they might start eating all their meals alone and avoid going to restaurants, cafes, or any other public places where people might eat. Other common triggers include scratching, sniffing, slurping, loud breathing, pen-clicking, doors squeaking - in fact practically anything may become a trigger.
What happens is that trigger sounds cause a brain area called the amygdala to go into 'fight or flight' mode, which may result in the sufferer simply leaving the room, blocking their ears or shouting angrily for the noise to cease. Researchers aren’t yet certain what causes mysophonia. But they do know it appears more commonly in people who also have: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); anxiety disorders; Tourette syndrome, and tinnitus. There may also be a potential connection between misophonia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
So can anything be done to help? One treatment being used is CBT, which may involve reframing the trigger sound as something more calming and bearable. and of course - hypnotherapy, which uses the mind-body connection to work with the subconscious mind and stop the amygdala doing into panic mode in the first place. The good news is that hypnotherapy can be quick - maybe only one or two sessions is required. Call for details if you are driven mad by your partner's incessant throat clearing!