A Large-Scale Study of Misophonia

J Clin Psychol. 2018 Mar;74(3):453-479. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22500. Epub 2017 May 31.

Abstract

Objective: We aim to elucidate misophonia, a condition in which particular sounds elicit disproportionally strong aversive reactions.

Method: A large online study extensively surveyed personal, developmental, and clinical characteristics of over 300 misophonics.

Results: Most participants indicated that their symptoms started in childhood or early teenage years. Severity of misophonic responses increases over time. One third of participants reported having family members with similar symptoms. Half of our participants reported no comorbid clinical conditions, and the other half reported a variety of conditions. Only posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was related to the severity of the misophonic symptoms. Remarkably, half of the participants reported experiencing euphoric, relaxing, and tingling sensations with particular sounds or sights, a relatively unfamiliar phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).

Conclusion: It is unlikely that another "real" underlying clinical, psychiatric, or psychological disorder can explain away the misophonia. The possible relationship with PTSD and ASMR warrants further investigation.

Keywords: ASMR; disorder; misophonia; sound; synesthesia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology
  • Affective Symptoms / physiopathology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology
  • Hearing Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / epidemiology
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Synesthesia

Supplementary concepts

  • Synesthesia