Working with me and my Misophonia

And why you are driving me mad

Misophonia. The hatred of sounds.

I stumbled across the word and its meaning by pure accident only a matter of months ago and I cannot explain the relief that I had. That there was an explanation for my inner rage and I am not just an intolerant individual. And the best bit ... I am not alone.

Once I had Googled it, I found forums full of people with this 'condition', also relieved that they are not the only oddball. And then seeing it appear in LinkedIn a few weeks ago I thought, I must share my experience of a typical day for me.

For starters, I won't have had a good night's sleep. My husband, coughs, sniffs and fidgets (whatever the time of year) and this goes way beyond an annoyance.

But once I am up and out of the house I love my own space in the car and the quiet at my desk at 7 am. I'd be here every day at that time if I didn't need more sleep. I get stuff done and avoid interruption.

And then as we near 9am, the silence is broken and my version of hell is unleashed.

Someone chewing their breakfast at their desk, sniffing incessantly as they come in from the cold. Then the click, click of talon-like nails on a keyboard. The constant ping and vibrations from mobile phones and tablets. In fact, anything remotely repetitive (including your need to tell me the same thing you've told me before) is so excruciating that I want to throw you and your device against the wall to silence you.

And why can I still hear you breathing? I hate the sound of you breathing!

It means a day where I will need deep concentration in my work, I may be short with you for no apparent reason and 5 minute breaks from my desk from time to time. Oh, and I supply free boxes of tissues: Don't sniff - blow it.

Thank goodness I rarely have to endure public transport. Those times I commute into London (aaargh ... tomorrow...) I feel I have some sense of what it's like to have Tinitus, with people surrounding me playing music on their phones and sniffing for 40 mins whilst fidgeting (did I mention fidgeting)? I HATE fidgeting.

This is beyond irritation. It's indescribable anger, sometimes to the point of tears. Indeed a man I was communicating with on LinkedIn confessed to having to wear noise cancellation headphones in bed!

So if you love us, know that we love you too. But you should be seen and not heard.

Clare Wight


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