How to deal with misophonia? That is the question this article focuses on answering. For me, dealing with misophonia became a whole lot easier when I did one thing. What was that one thing? Discovering and accepting that I have it. In my experience, once a person accepts a condition, the person begins to focus on solutions. Considering there’s no known cure for misophonia, and the literature surrounding the condition is limited, it’s important to focus on limiting its effects.
Do you drink coffee, green tea, or other caffeinated beverages? Well, I do, and I started drinking more once I began writing for a living. What I noticed is that the heightened alertness produced by caffeine makes my response to my triggers worse. Eventually, I had to do something about it. That goes back to what I mentioned about finding solutions.
A couple of years ago, I began using tools to block out my triggers and live a mostly normal life. In this article, I share the 5 best tools for coping with misophonia triggers and blocking them out altogether. After that, I’ll share some tips on how to deal with misophonia in your daily life and a list of several methods I use to cope.
The 5 Best Tools for Dealing with Misophonia
|#1) Noise Cancelling Headphones|
|#3) White Noise Headphones & Machines|
|#4) OSHA Approved Headphones|
|#5) Safety Ear Muffs|
How to Deal with Misophonia Using the 5 Tools
Whether you want to block out your misohpnia triggers at home, work, school, or all of the above, there are suitable options in the table above. The best all-around solution is noise-canceling headphones with active noise canceling.
Currently, there are over-ear, in-ear, and wireless earbuds with active noise-canceling technology. While these are the best options for daily noise reduction, they also cost the most upfront. However, there are budget options to check out, especially if it’s your first pair of headphones.
In my experience, budget ANC headphones are a good place to start, but once you get a taste of how much better active noise canceling makes your life as a misophonia sufferer, you’ll eventually want to upgrade to Sony or Bose.
Sony and Bose Active Noise Canceling Headphones
Once you invest in a quality set of Bose or Sony active noise-canceling headphones, you’ll begin to experience immediate relief. The noise-canceling feature on its own is enough to completely block out most sounds or reduce them to the point of near nothingness.
Think of the ANC feature as a way of catching sounds before they reach your ears. This is why they call it “active” rather than relying on a seal to block noise before it enters your ear.
The Possibilities Are Endless
ANC headphones are good for almost any situation outside of sleeping, though there are wireless ANC earbuds for sleeping. Below is a list of ways to use ANC headphones to deal with misophonia triggers:
- Combine the power of ANC with white noise playlists on Spotify or play your favorite music. When I combine ANC with music or white noise (even on low), it completely blocks out other sounds. To me, this is the best way to live a normal life without losing my temper due to hearing certain sounds. My productivity has skyrocketed since I invested in a pair of over-ear ANC headphones.
- For use in busy office environments to reduce outside chatter and bothersome sounds
- If you have an adverse reaction to chewing sounds, wearing them while eating will completely block out the sounds of chewing
- Around heavy machinery or other loud sounds
- During your travels, if chatter or plane sounds cause a negative response
- Completely block out the sounds of annoying neighbors
- If you sleep on your back, wear them while you rest. You’ll be amazed by how comfortable they are. As a side sleeper, I use a U-shaped travel pillow to cradle my head while wearing over-ear ANC headphones if neighbor sounds disturb my sleep (one of my worst triggers)
Unlock the Power of Earplug Headphones
Earplug headphones and earbuds are another new technology that’s great for misophonia sufferers. As the name suggests, they combine the power of earplugs and headphones into one. Use earplug headphones to play white noise or music while the tips block out sound the same way as conventional earplugs.
The top choices on the market are currently made by ISOtunes. This type of earbud is popular among construction workers because the high NRR makes them OSHA-compliant. NRR stands for Noise Reduction Rating, and it’s used to calculate noise reduction in decibels.
ISOtunes currently sells both wireless earbuds and a wired pair of Bluetooth headphones that are both worth a look:
All in all, earplugs headphones are the next best choice after active noise-canceling headphones, and they do cost less than Bose and Sony.
White Noise Machines & Sleeping Headphones
White noise machines and sleeping headphones are great for home use when you want to mask city sounds, annoying neighbors, barking dogs, snoring loved ones, and other bothersome sounds. Most people set up white noise machines in their bedrooms to play when they’re ready to sleep.
Depending on the severity of your misophonia and your triggers, white noise may or may not work. In my case, it’s the last resort after ANC headphones and good earplugs. Why? High-pitched sounds bother me the most, and they seem to cut through the white noise. Even the slightest screech of a chair leg dragging across the ground is enough of a trigger.
The LectroFan included in the chart above is a solid piece of equipment that offers a wide range of fan noises along with white, pink, and brown noise. The wide selection of sounds gives you more than enough options to play around with to find your preferred settings.
Advantages of White Noise Machines
- There’s no need to put anything in your ears or cover them. In reality, it’s best to limit earplug and earbud usage because it can affect earwax production.
- They help most people get a better night’s sleep
- White noise may be all you need to avoid misophonia trigger responses at home
- Good machines are a lot cheaper than expensive ANC headphones
- The sounds are soothing and calming
Misophonia Coping Strategies
Even with all these tools at your disposal, there will always be times when you confront your misophonia triggers. The key is to limit your exposure to triggers using these tools without becoming a hermit because long-term isolation will only make misophonia worse.
Below, I go over the steps I follow to keep my anger in check. Since I began following these steps, I’ve progressed lightyears beyond where I was just a few years ago.
Step #1 Acceptance
The first step is to accept that you have misophonia for life. Once you accept it, you’ll naturally begin to work on solutions instead of getting down about it. Most people live with conditions, and accepting those conditions is the easiest way to begin moving forward.
Step #2 Be Open About It with Friends & Family
Misophonia is a real condition, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Before I realized I had misophonia, I never knew why nothing annoyed my mom, but everything annoyed me. Apparently, I have the same temper like my father. However, I knew this wasn’t the case.
I knew there was something causing my anger since I’m a pacifist who doesn’t even like to harm a fly. Once I identified and opened up about what was causing my anger to friends and family, they began to understand that sounds cause me to lose my temper.
Opening up to friends and loved ones about how you’re feeling has a therapeutic effect.
Step #3 Get Away from Your Triggers
One of the most fruitless activities is to attempt to erase your triggers by confronting them head-on. In my case, this doesn’t work. The better method is to eliminate your triggers, and this step relates to people who are unwilling to change their current situation.
There’s no reason to deal with annoying sounds due to neighbors, work, or friends & family for life. It’s critical to speak up and change your environment to reduce exposure to your triggers.
For example, a lot of people will stay in the same spot and deal with the same disturbances without thinking of any solutions. Perhaps you’re a renter who just accepts that you have noisy neighbors. Why not find a new apartment or talk to your neighbors?
The takeaway is that it’s necessary to make power moves to avoid your triggers and live a happy life.
Step #4 Learn Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress
Relaxation techniques are all the more important to learn when coping with misophonia. What’s helped me is to look at an anger response as a challenge. When I overcome my anger and resist acting foolishly, this is a win, and it makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside.
Meditation and deep breathing relax the mind and give you the power to overcome stress. When your mind is balanced, relaxed and strong, you’re better-equipped to overcome a negative reaction to a misophonia trigger.
Step #5 Exercise & Eat Healthier to Increase Self-Displicine
Back when I was a know-it-all teenager, I almost never worked out and had zero interest in weightlifting. Once I grew up, I began to realize how great weightlifting is for learning self-discipline. An exercise routine is an awesome way to learn self-discipline.
I look at life as being the pilot of one’s own mind. Of course, there will be some turbulence along the way, and the stronger you are the less you feel turbulence.
People with misophonia who lack self-discipline and don’t exercise or eat a balanced diet are a lot more likely to have a crippling response to a misophonia trigger than someone who’s healthy and in control.
When you combine the tools mentioned in this article with the steps above, you’ll find that coping with misophonia and living a normal life becomes a whole lot easier. When you look at misophonia as a burden instead of a way to better yourself, you’ll only go down a dark path.
For me, misophonia actually made me a stronger person, and it’s helped me learn awesome stuff like meditation and how to avoid losing my temper. The key is to know that having the condition is out of your hands. You simply cannot control that part.
What you can control is how you adjust your life to block out triggers and avoid a negative response that derails your day. If you need to make drastic changes to live a happy life, such as changing jobs or moving apartments, you must ask yourself, How much is happiness worth in my limited time on Earth? That question alone might be the wake-up call you need to start making positive changes today.