Diagnosis and Treatment
More often than not, misophonia goes undiagnosed. The majority of doctors are unaware of the condition. Help for the disorder usually is initiated when a parent or teacher recognizes the symptoms.
A diagnosis is made through evaluation of the person's feelings when exposed to sounds. The best treatment approach is one that is performed by an audiologist and a psychiatrist. The audiologist treats the patient with tinnitus retraining therapy, a therapy that uses sound generators or broadband signal generators to desensitize the person to the sounds that bother them. An audiologist also works to reprogram the auditory processing center of the brain by teaching the patient to associate the sounds with pleasant feelings. A psychiatrist treats any underlying psychological conditions like OCD or anxiety, and helps the person develop coping methods to use when bothered by sounds. Treatment can last anywhere from six months to eighteen months.
As treatment progresses, the person is encouraged to gradually discontinue the use of earplugs if they are using them. Ironically, continued use of earplugs only makes the person more sensitive to sounds. Unfortunately, until treatment is successful, earplugs are often a necessity for the person. Without them, their anxiety levels may be extremely high.
Teachers and parents can assist students by helping them to avoid exposure to the sounds that bother them. For example, if the sound of chewing bothers the student, the teacher should allow the student to eat their lunch in the classroom, library, or another quiet place where they will not be exposed to chewing. Another way that both teachers and parents can help the student is to offer verbal support. Most people do not understand misophonia. For the student, having a teacher or parent who verbally understands and shows compassion towards them, is a comforting relief.