Misophonia in Children

June 5, 2020
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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The sound of chips breaking between your teeth, the crinkle of paper, and the whoosh of air as your AC kicks on and off… these sounds can become a normal occurrence around your home — to the point you barely even notice them. But, for a child with misophonia, they can be the focus of their entire day. Misophonia is the hatred of sounds, and it can be so debilitating that your child can’t focus on anything else. What causes it, and what can you do if you think your child suffers from this disorder?

What is misophonia?

Misophonia is a disorder that causes people to have abnormally strong reactions to everyday sounds. These sounds can include chewing, breathing, clicking a pen, or the ticking of typing on a keyboard. In response, the person can act out — both emotionally and physically. Someone with misophonia may feel:

  • Anxious
  • Uncomfortable
  • The urge to flee
  • Disgust

In some severe instances, the person may also react to visual indicators that accompany the sounds. Severe cases may also experience:

  • Rage
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Hatred
  • Panic
  • Emotional distress

What causes misophonia in children?

There is no single known cause for misophonia, but some theories suggest that it could affect how the central nervous system operates or how the brain filters sound. And, misophonia can develop in a child as late as 13 years old — with girls being the majority to experience the disorder.

7 Signs That Your Child May Have Misophonia

1. Sound sensitivity

Your child may react sensitively to sound. These sounds may include chewing, breathing, lip-smacking, snoring, pen clicking, sniffing, and other repetitive sounds.

2. Automatic Reactions

When exposed to these sounds, your child immediately reacts with a physical response. This could include acting in disgust or discomfort. But, it can also include an emotional reaction — such as anger or irritability.

3. Flight Mode

Upon hearing the sounds, your child may attempt to flee the immediate area. You may see them run from room to room until they are away from the sound.

4. Avoidance

If your child has misophonia, you may notice they avoid the sounds that trigger them. If it’s lip-smacking, they may avoid those people who often smack their lips. If they are triggered by food chewing, they may dislike going to restaurants and even miss mealtimes.

5. Mimicking

In some rare cases, your child may mimic the sound that triggers them. They do this in an attempt to lessen their pain response. This can occur when someone else makes the noise or shortly after the sound occurs.

6. Worsening Sensitivity

Your child’s sensitivity may worsen over time — from starting as anger to developing into acting out physically. Their misophonia may also develop into misokinesis. This means that in addition to being triggered by sounds, they will also begin reacting to the physical motions that accompany these sounds.

7. Failure to Function

One sure sign that your child suffers from misophonia is that they cannot function when triggered by this sound. This can occur at school, with family, and in general social scenarios.

Misophonia Treatment Options

If you think your child may suffer from misophonia, you should consult with their pediatrician to get a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, you can begin treatment. This takes form in a few different ways. An audiologist can develop coping strategies to help your child in everyday situations.

Your child may also need a hearing device that produces a relaxing sound. This can replace the triggering noises that they hear throughout the day. And, in some cases, talk therapy may be effective for learning how to cope with triggering sounds.

Lifestyle changes can also help cope with triggering sounds. Exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress can help lessen the impact of triggered sounds. Wearing earplugs and headsets can also help limit sounds that can cause distress. You should also set up quiet areas around your home where your child can escape to if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Contact Care Options for Kids For Pediatric Home Health Care

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you are considering pediatric home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.