Patterns in misophonia & sound sensitivity: humans vs nature

Since I was little, I have had misophonia and sensitivity to sounds. The misophonia is mostly triggered by chewing and paper and plastic rustling, and the sound sensitivity mostly to loud sounds and noise.


I have noticed some general patterns.

My system is more sensitive when I am exhausted or stressed, and it’s much easier if I am rested and relaxed.

The misophonia and sound sensitivity is triggered more easily when the sound is ongoing. The reaction builds up over time.

And I get more stressed if I think I am unable to do something about it. If I cannot do anything about the source, if I don’t have anything to put in my ears (often tight earbuds with music), or if I cannot remove myself from the sound. (That’s why traveling with others in a car, bus, train, or plane can be stressful for me.)

If I am more resourced, the sound doesn’t last too long, and I can do something about it, it’s much easier to deal with.


And there is also a difference depending on the source of the sound.

If the source of the sound (for instance, chewing sound) is a non-human being or a baby, it’s usually completely fine with me. I may notice a small reaction far in the background, but it’s OK.

If the source is a human that’s not a baby, that’s when the misophonia is triggered.

And it’s the same with noise sensitivity. If the source is humans, it can feel overwhelming. If the source is nature, it’s typically fine.

For instance, I am currently in the countryside in the Andes mountains (El Caucho outside of Barichara). Yesterday, there was construction noise nearby which I noticed bothered me. This morning, a neighbor had the radio on loud, which bothered me. (Especially since it’s Sunday at 5:30 am), while the guacharacas loudly crowing much earlier didn’t bother me at all.


This suggests that my reaction is mediated by my mental field.

If the source is “innocent” as my mind sees it, there is less reaction.

And if I have stressful thoughts about the source, the reaction is stronger. Some of the thoughts I have identified and explored are “they should know better”, “the sound is aggressive” and “this is a symptom of our destructive civilization” (loud machines, chain saws, leaf blowers), “he is inconsiderate”, and so on.


These patterns give me several cues for what I can do about it.

I can continue to support my system to rest and build up energy. (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so this is important for me in general.) I can make sure to get good sleep. Eat well. Rest before, during, and after any activity, and extra. Take my vitamins and herbs. (Vitamin D, Siberian Ginseng, and Echinacea seem especially helpful.) Receive energization with Vortex Healing. (Amazingly helpful.)

I can continue to find ways to manage the situation when it happens. I have earbuds with me. For longer travels, I bring noise-canceling earphones. If I am about to travel with people in a car, let them know in advance. If I am in a public space and people close to me are loud, I go somewhere else. And so on.

I have found it helpful to ask myself some questions. Is this too the voice of the divine? (I notice it directly so it’s not a “trick” and I’ll still do the other things.) How I would respond if the source was a baby or non-human being? Are not humans and human civilization also nature?

I can also explore mental representations triggered by these sounds, what they mean to me (underlying assumptions, associations), how I relate to them, and what’s more true for me. I have already done this with The Work of Byron Katie and the Kiloby Inuiries, and it has helped a lot, and there is more to discover.


What’s the cause of misophonia and sound sensitivity?

I am not sure. It’s likely a combination of several things:

My stressful thoughts about the sounds and what they mean.

How resourced my system is.

We evolved in a generally much more quiet environment than many of us live in today, and this likely puts a lot of stress on our system. It’s not surprising if some of us are extra sensitive to sounds and noise.

And it doesn’t matter so much. I have some ways to work with it anyway.

Image by me and Midjourney. And, no, I won’t keep going on with black-and-white woodcuts forever! It’s just what I am drawn to right now.

Is noise also the voice of the divine?

I am in a place with more traffic noise than I am used to.

My personality doesn’t like it very much.

And I am also exploring something.

What if this is the voice of the divine too?

Can I find it as the voice of the divine?

How is it to notice it as the voice of the divine?

How is it to find it as the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as that too? As the traffic noise. The traffic. This human self responding to it.


In exploring this, there is of course a lot more happening.

I find I can do it more easily when I am rested and have more resources available.

I notice parts of me frustrated with the noise. I see what happens when I thank these parts of me for protecting me, and relate to them as a good friend or a good parent to a child. I notice that this too is a flavor of the divine, just like the noise itself.

I notice that the noise only exists, for me, as something within my sound field, within my sensory fields. It happens within and as what I am. I cannot find it “outside”. Even any image I have of “outside” happens within my mental field.

If my human self feels tired, I am kind to my human self and put on headphones or put in earbuds and listen to some music.

And I also just allow myself to be frustrated by the noise and complain or make a joke about it.

Image: Me and Midjourney

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Noise as escape

Noise – as just about anything else – can be used as a distraction and escape.

It can be used to distract us from uncomfortable feelings and the stories attached to and often creating these feelings. (These stories make the physical sensations appear uncomfortable and have a meaning.)

Silence can seem threathening because it makes the noise of our mind more obvious. It highlights the discomfort of a mind struggling with itself.

I assume using noise as an escape is partly universal and partly a cultural phenomenon. In our culture, we have the technology to easily create a lot of sound. (Music, TV and movies which we can leave on even if we are not paying much attention to it, and equipment such as leaf blowers, power tools etc..)

I do this sometimes too. I sometimes listen to podcasts instead of being present and resting with uncomfortable sensations and the imagination associated with them.

The other side of this is that I am sometimes bothered by noise, and my mind wants to make noisy pepople “wrong”. And that’s for me to look more at.

Where is the threat in noise and noisy people? How does my mind create its experience of a threat in these things? What sensations and imaginations (images, words) are there?

What does noise say about me? (I am a victim, sensitive, different.) Can I find that person? How does my mind create its experience of such a person?

Where is the compulsion for silence? How does my mind create its experience of a compulsion? What sensations and imaginations are there, creating that apperance of a compulsion?

I had a conversation about this today, which was the seed of this post, and by coinciencee saw two articles on this topic:

Science says silence is much ore important for our brains than we thought – Lifehacker

Why silence is so good for your brain – Huffington Post

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Peace and noise

This is again something very simple I keep noticing.

When I experience peace, I am perfectly happy with silence around me – just enjoying the sounds of the wind or rain, or people in the distance.

And when there is more inner turmoil, it’s easy to be drawn to creating “noise” around me as a distraction – often music.

So inner peace is often reflected in silence. And inner turmoil in sound.

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