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'Sound hatred' a genuine problem, say UK scientists

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:19

Scientists from the UK's Newcastle University say their research on misophonia shows the hatred of sound can cause noticeable changes in the brains of sufferers, as Jim Drury reports.

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Noise like rustling crisps or loud chewing irritate the most placid of us. But for misophonics, such sounds can make life Hell. SOUNDBITE (English) DR WILL SEDLEY, AUDITORY NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCHER AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "This is certain speech sounds, chewing, certain other sort of noisy wet noises from the mouth, noisy breathing as well. Other ones include things like repetitive noises, pen clicking, foot tapping, keyboards sometimes." Newcastle University researchers have found clear changes in the brain structure of those who suffer from misophonia - which means literally 'hatred of sound'. Volunteers listened to various neutral, unpleasant, and so-called 'trigger' sounds. SOUNDBITE (English) DR WILL SEDLEY, AUDITORY NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCHER AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "The most striking thing was activity on part of the brain called the insular or the anterior insular on the left hand side and this mediates emotional responses…. it has a strong role in mediating the autonomic system, the fight or flight response……the activation was there in everybody for unpleasant sounds, but it was incredibly strong for the misophonic patients to these specific sounds." In misophonics trigger sounds created heightened physiological responses, like increased heart rate and sweating. But researchers say it's the brain scans that show it's a real condition. SOUNDBITE (English) DR WILL SEDLEY, AUDITORY NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCHER AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "There was a part of the brain - not the anterior insular, but an area that was connected to it and part of the frontal lobe that was actually structurally abnormal, it was smaller and less developed in people with misophonia at a group level. Nothing you'd see on an individual brain screen basis, but suggesting that there may actually be brain structural alterations in this. " The team hopes that providing a scientific explanation will help sufferers. SOUNDBITE (English) DR WILL SEDLEY, AUDITORY NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCHER AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "I think the main thing, the take home message is we've demonstrated that this is a real physical brain disorder, this is not something people are putting on." Further research is planned - and eventually treatment developed to help sufferers avoid reactions like this....

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'Sound hatred' a genuine problem, say UK scientists

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 02:19