North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Listen up: Misophonia affects many students

It is incredibly important to acknowledge misophonia as an actual medical disorder because it affects a great amount of people and it alters their everyday lives in unfortunate ways.
Caroline Guarniéri
It is incredibly important to acknowledge misophonia as an actual medical disorder because it affects a great amount of people and it alters their everyday lives in unfortunate ways.

Imagine a family dinner. Everyone is gathered around the table, eating and conversing. The air smells rich with food, and the dog is waiting at your feet for a lucky piece of food to fall from your fork. Everything seems great except for one thing. You can’t seem to stop thinking about the fact that you can hear your father chewing his food, and you are beginning to feel uncomfortable and annoyed. The need to get up and leave the table quickly becomes apparent. Your family doesn’t understand why you’re acting the way you are until you’re brought to the doctor. You’ve just been diagnosed with misophonia.

 Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds and visual stimuli that follow the sound trigger emotional or psychological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable given the circumstances. The effects of this disorder span from mild responses to more severe ones ranging from feelings of anxiousness and disgust to blinding feelings of rage, panic, and emotional distress. 

Up to 18% of people in the United States suffer from misophonia; however, many affected by these symptoms may not realize they have the disorder due to the fact that misophonia hasn’t been talked about and recognized until recently. Some unfortunately consider the effects of this disorder as a person acting rude and dramatic, which has caused those affected to shy away from getting checked out by a provider, which then leads them to continue living under the impression that they are simply overreacting and not being able to be diagnosed or even treated. The adverse stigma placed on those who exhibit symptoms of misophonia has only recently begun to be lifted as the United States has become more progressive regarding specific health matters. Needless to say, there is still a long way to go. 

My misophonia makes it hard for me to concentrate because I will hear sounds like chewing, and it bothers me to the point that I can’t focus on anything else.”

— Tulsi Shah, junior

It is incredibly important to acknowledge misophonia as an actual medical disorder because it affects a great amount of people and it alters their everyday lives in unfortunate ways. Many of our very own school body is affected and it is unimaginable how hard it must be to go through a school day with the disorder. Those affected may find it difficult to focus in a class while there are other noises like the repetitive click of a pen or the tap of someone’s shoe because of the strong, automatic, emotional and psychological response it evokes.

“My misophonia makes it hard for me to concentrate because I will hear sounds like chewing, and it bothers me to the point that I can’t focus on anything else,” junior Tulsi Shah said. In addition to that, simply going to lunch can be hard for those afflicted with misophonia because of the many noises that can be heard in the cafeteria or other areas where meals are eaten. 

Try your best to not judge them for needing to step away for a minute or if their mood suddenly changes due to a specific stimulus. Being considerate, empathetic, and understanding can go a long way and support those affected by misophonia a little more and make a loud world a little quieter.”

There are many ways you can support our student body who have been diagnosed with misophonia. The main one being simply being understanding and compassionate because unfortunately, there isn’t any way for us as supporters, to completely eliminate the sounds and visual stimuli that evoke those responses. Although it may be hard to step into their shoes and truly understand the things they go through daily, it is easy to be compassionate when they are affected. Try your best to not judge them for needing to step away for a minute or if their mood suddenly changes due to a specific stimulus. Being considerate, empathetic, and understanding can go a long way and support those affected by misophonia and make a loud world a little quieter. 

Moral of the story, it is important to not only know the symptoms of misophonia, a disorder where certain sounds and visual stimuli that follow the sound trigger emotional or psychological responses but it also important to raise awareness of this disorder that affects many in our school so our community can support them to the best of our abilities. 

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About the Contributor
Lolah Slagg, Reporter
Lolah is a sophomore at Niles North and this is her first year on North Star News. In her free time she enjoys playing soccer, reading, or hanging out with friends.

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