"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content. " ~ Helen Keller
Misophonia is a neurological condition in which a specific region of the brain responds to ‘trigger’ stimuli in a way that involves profound physical, functional, and physiological, differences compared to that of a person without misophonia. Triggers can be auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or olfactory, or in any combination.
Every person with misophonia has a unique set of triggers. Living well with misophonia is possible through education, understanding, and treatment. This is done with a multi-step treatment program which includes the Safe & Sound Protocol™ followed by either the Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy approach developed by Dr. Pawel Jastreboff or through Sequent Repatterning Therapy with the use of guided imagery (or hypnotherapy) as created by Chris Pearson, Certified Clinical Neuropsychotherapist, in collaboration with the work of Tom Dozier of the Misophonia Institute.
Safe & Sound Protocol™ (SSP)
Prior to any therapeutic or management approach, it is recommended that your child complete the Safe & Sound Protocol™. Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe & Sound Protocol™ (SSP) is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. It stimulates the nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory nervous system with specifically processed music to ‘retune’ the nervous system to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage.
This intervention exercises the neural network associated with extracting speech from background noise and helps reduce auditory hypersensitivities and selective sound sensitivity. Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy. It is not used as a stand-alone program but rather as part of other therapeutic interventions, depending on your child’s needs.
The Safe & Sound Protocol™ is a research-based therapy showing significant results in just five days in the following areas:
This non-invasive intervention involves listening to music that has been processed specifically to “retune” the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. This allows the child to better interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviours and an enhanced ability to learn, self-regulate, and engage are often seen.
Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for Misophonia
This treatment has been effective for some individuals. It was first introduced by Pawel J. Jastreboff, Ph.D., Sc.D., who coined the term “misophonia” in 2003. Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for Misophonia, comprising a combination of sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, has produced positive results in 83 percent of cases.
This modified TRT approach includes:
As with any therapy, it will take time for the strategies and new thought patterns to become habitual. This therapy is suitable for children, teens, and young adults. Creating positive associations with sound and practicing intentional rethinking of trigger sounds are the cornerstones of this approach.
It does not include the use of earplugs or music-streaming earbuds which will simply block out the trigger sounds. This approach will only exacerbate the problem by making the auditory system more sensitive to the sounds. Desensitization by exposure to the offending stimuli also has no documented evidence on sound tolerance.