Misophonia and ADHD: Is There a Connection Between Them? (2023)

Misophonia and ADHD: Is There a Connection Between Them? (1)Share on Pinterest

Do certain noises irritate you, sometimes to the point of anger?

  • A friend grabs a nail file and you shudder and run to another room or immediately put your hands over your ears.
  • Every time your co-worker stirs their coffee with a metal spoon, you have to bite your lip to keep from yelling "Stop!" when ringing.
  • You dine standing up in the kitchen while the oven fan runs to drown out your partner's meal.

If these scenarios sound a little familiar, it's entirely possible that you suffer from misophonia, a condition in which certain sounds trigger an extreme emotional response. You can think of it as extreme sensitivity to certain sounds — sounds that people without misophonia can often ignore.

If you have (or suspect you have)Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder that often involvesHypersensitivity to stimuli, you may be wondering about the possible connections between these conditions.

Existto searchabout misophonia suggests a possible link between misophonia and ADHD. However, research on misophonia is still in its infancy, and experts have come to no conclusions about the connection between the two.

Read on for an in-depth examination, as well as some alternative explanations to consider.

Although misophonia literally means "hatred of sounds," people living with the condition can experience a range of emotions when hearing trigger sounds.

Anger is usually the most common, but others include:

  • Angst
  • irritation
  • aggravation
  • heart pain
  • impatience

You can also feel stuck or trapped. In fact, it's not uncommon for misophonia triggers to aFight, flight, or freeze response.

common triggers

Triggers vary greatly from person to person, and most sounds can become triggers.

Many people say that mouth sounds, like the sounds of eating, serve as their biggest triggers. Other common triggers are:

  • pipe
  • I find
  • Pets lick, scratch, or groom themselves
  • click or tap
  • rub fabric
  • metallic sounds
  • breathing or sighing
(Video) Misophonia Explained (IsThere A Link With Autism or ADHD?)

Experts have yet to decide whether misophonia is best described as a distinct psychiatric disorder or as a feature of other disorders. That said, most now recognize it as a condition that can cause serious problems.

On oneSmall study from 2017, researchers found that the brain's emotional processing centers elicited an extreme response when people with misophonia heard trigger sounds.

They also observed unusual connections between the anterior insular cortex and the default-mode network that helps in memory retrieval. This association suggests that unpleasant memories may also play a role in misophonia.

Survey 2021also found support for irregular brain connections, as well as evidence that people with misophonia may have larger amygdala volume. The study's authors believe that the larger amygdala may help explain the exaggerated response to sounds.

Future research could provide more information on whether these brain differences contribute to misophonia or occur as a result of the condition.

To date, little research has specifically looked at possible links between ADHD and misophonia.

On one2017 large-scale studyof people living with misophonia, the researchers found that half of the 301 participants also had another diagnosed condition. Among these 150 participants, 12% (18 people) had ADHD.

Survey 2020considered as a larger sample: 575 people with misophonia. In this study, 5 percent of the participants (31 people) also had ADHD.

These findings do not provide conclusive evidence of an association, but suggest a possible association.

(Video) Which one of these is the worst?! #adhd #misophonia #drkojo #sensoryoverload #sensoryissues

It's also worth noting that experts haven't studied misophonia for that long. The condition itself was named and defined in2001— only recently in the context of scientific research.

Evidence of a link between misophonia and ADHD may be limited, but it is plentifulProoflinks ADHD to increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli, including sounds.

Simply put, people with ADHD often have trouble filtering andProcessingunnecessary sensory input or information from the environment.

Suppose you are attending a class with a small group of classmates. Like everyone else, you listen to your teacher. But you have ADHD and your brainAlsosimultaneously picks up all other sensory information in the room:

  • changing patterns of light falling through the blinds
  • outside the leaves are swaying in the trees
  • Click when the classroom heater turns on
  • pens and pencils
  • the grip of your sock cuffs
  • creaking chairs
  • Scent of coffee and body lotion
  • restless classmates and dangling legs

These details overload your brain, overwhelming you and making it difficult to focus on the information you need most: your professor's lecture.

As with misophonia, thissensory overloadit can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and anger. These emotions can be even more difficult to bear and deal with if you also struggle with thememotional regulation, another common concern of people with ADHD.

In other words, sensory processing problems can resemble misophonia to the point where it becomes difficult to tell them apart. As an added complication, certain visual triggers also elicit a response in some people with misophonia.

SomeresearcherThink of misophonia as just another part of general sensory intolerance, not a separate diagnosis. But if you only notice a response to sound and no other sensory input, many experts would probably consider misophonia the best description for your symptoms.

Misophonia can also be associated with a number of other conditions, including:

(Video) Misophonia, Phonophobia, and Hyperacusis: Auditory Sensitivity and Mental Health

  • Depression
  • Angst
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Tourette syndrome
  • the sum
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Experts are yet to figure out why misophonia is more common in people living with these conditions. But it's also worth considering other important connections and overlaps between ADHD and depression, anxiety, or OCD:


Many people have ADHD and anxiety. But it's also possible to confuse one with the other, since some symptoms of anxiety and ADHD can be similar:

  • unrest and restlessness
  • Difficulty relaxing or feeling calm
  • Difficulty dealing with emotions, stress, and your fear response
  • Problems with memory, concentration and focus

Experts have found much support for a link between anxiety and misophonia. actually olderto searchalso suggests that it can develop as a symptom of generalized anxiety, similar to OCD orSchizotypal Personality Disorder.

While your misophonia could certainly be linked to ADHD, it could also be related to anxiety.

Learn about the key similarities between ADHD and anxiety.

Table of contents

As mentioned above, misophonia can present itself as an OCD symptom rather than a problem in its own right, and this is where it gets a little tricky. SomeProofsuggests that many children diagnosed with ADHD may actually have OCD.

Like misophonia and ADHD, OCD usually occurs in childhood. And while it's certainly not impossible to experience misophonia on top of OCD and ADHD,Survey 2015suggests that this could be quite unusual.

Authors of AStudy 2018Note that misophonia appears to be closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. So if you live with misophonia and notice it tooobsessions, or any other symptom of OCD, you may have OCD - not ADHD.

Learn more about the difference between ADHD and OCD.


Experts can't misdiagnose depression as ADHD, but there's another important connection to consider: Many people live with ADHDalso have depression.

However, the same is true for people with misophonia. In fact, depression is one of the mental illnesses most commonly associated with misophonia.

The misophonia-as-a-symptom theory could certainly help explain this connection. But it's also true that severe symptoms of misophonia can cause you to avoid situations in which you hear potentially triggering sounds.

Depending on your triggers, this could mean:

  • Avoiding parties and other social events
  • to keep distanceLover
  • Decline invitations to restaurants or other places where people eat
  • Difficulty managing emotional responses to noise at school, work, or home
  • choose not to have a pet even if you really want one

In short, misophonia can lead to lifestyle changes that negatively impact your mood and relationships, affecting the symptoms of depression.

Additionally, because it appears that both misophonia and ADHD can play a role in depression in some people, it may be that both misophonia and ADHD increase your risk of depression.

(Video) Misophonia | What to do when you HATE sounds | 5 remedies

It never hurts to contact a therapist when you realize itanySymptoms that cause prolonged mental or emotional distress.

Trained mental health professionals can help you identify possible causes of these symptoms, as well as provide support and information about therapy and others.useful treatmentsfor symptoms of ADHD, including hypersensitivity. if misophoniahe doesWhen it comes to ADHD, the right treatment can make a difference.

They can also offer advice on coping tips and possible treatment options for misophonia. Although there is no known cure for misophonia, several strategies appear to have a positive impact on symptoms:

  • Tinnitus Detox Therapy
  • counterconditioning
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Stressimpftraining
  • Expositionstherapie

In therapy, you can also begin to explore possible changes that can help you avoid or better tolerate noise triggers in your daily life. This can include things like:

  • Using white noise or headphones at work
  • usegrounding techniquesto manage your response to triggers
  • Create quiet zones at home
  • Self-Care Strategiesto improve general well-being

A therapist's help becomes even more important when you experience feelings of anxiety or depression, or when you find yourself avoiding people and important parts of your life.

Experts haven't found much evidence to explain the possible link between ADHD and misophonia, but it's early days, according to research. Future studies could provide more information about the connection between the two.

At the end of the day, it's really important to get support for any symptoms that are disrupting your life and distressing you, whether those symptoms are related to ADHD, misophonia, or something else.

As mental health professionals increasingly recognize misophonia as a real problem — especially for people who also have ADHD or certain mental illnesses —come to a therapistcould offer a key to improvement.

Crystal Raypole writes for Healthline and Psych Central. Her areas of interest include Japanese translation, cooking, science, positive sexuality and mental health, as well as books, books and more books. In particular, she is committed to reducing the stigma attached to mental illness. She lives in Washington with her son and an adorable unruly cat.

(Video) Once again, which one frustrates you the most?!#adhd #sensoryissues #misophonia #sensoryoverload


Can ADHD meds help with misophonia? ›

No conclusive evidence suggests medication can help treat the condition. If you have symptoms of both misophonia and another mental health condition, such as anxiety, OCD, depression, or ADHD, a doctor or psychiatrist can offer more information about medications that could help improve symptoms of these conditions.

Do people with ADHD get annoyed by noises? ›

2 People with ADHD can experience distress due to sound when it is overwhelming and causes an inability to focus, often leading to increased distress and anxiety. When a person has both sound sensitivity and ADHD, each condition can be even harder to deal with.

What can misophonia be linked to? ›

Recent reports have also suggested that misophonic symptoms can be found in the context of two of the most common psychiatric comorbidities of Tourette syndrome, in addition to obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder (Ferreira et al., 2013; Neal and Cavanna, ...

Do people with ADHD have sound sensory issues? ›

Individuals with ADHD may have trouble with emotional regulation and hypersensitivity to touch, sounds, and light.

What mental illness causes misophonia? ›

What Causes Misophonia? Unfortunately, there is no proven cause of misophonia. However, it does tend to show up more in people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and those that have tinnitus. It usually shows up during puberty, and the initial trigger sound is typically a family member eating.

Is misophonia mental or neurological? ›

Misophonia is a neurological disorder in which auditory (and sometimes visual) stimuli are misinterpreted within the central nervous system. It is assumed that the cause for misophonia lies not in the ears but in a dysfunction of the central auditory system in the brain.

What is ADHD shutdown symptoms? ›

Differences in emotions in people with ADHD can lead to 'shutdowns', where someone is so overwhelmed with emotions that they space out, may find it hard to speak or move and may struggle to articulate what they are feeling until they can process their emotions.

What noise helps ADHD focus? ›

There are different colors of noise, including white noise and brown noise, that can help people with ADHD to focus and relax. Although there is much research to be done, many people believe that brown noise is the best color of sound for people with ADHD. Brown noise plays lower frequencies at a louder volume.

What background noise is best for ADHD? ›

ADHD Weekly, March 20, 2020

Often someone who has ADHD can think better and stay on task longer if there is some white noise in her surroundings—maybe softly playing music, a fan in the corner, or the hum from an overhead air vent.

Who is most likely to have misophonia? ›

Who does misophonia affect? Research shows that misophonia can affect anyone but seems to be more common in women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB). The estimates on how it affects people based on sex vary. They range from 55% to 83% of cases happening in women and people AFAB.

Is misophonia a form of autism? ›

Misophonia autism is not an official term but it basically means that an autistic person happens to also have misophonia. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often also experience sensory processing disorder. Misophonia is a common partner with autism, but they are not mutually exclusive.

What does misophonia do to the brain? ›

A breakthrough study recently found that misophonia is a brain-based disorder. Researchers point to a disruption in the connectivity in parts of the brain that process both sound stimulation and the fight/flight response. It also involves parts of the brain that code the importance of sounds.

What is ADHD sensory overload? ›

Sensory overload happens when something overstimulates one or more of the senses. There's suddenly too much information coming in for the brain to process. It's common in people with sensory processing issues. Many people associate sensory overload with kids who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What sound frequency is ADHD? ›

Low Beta Waves 12-15Hz (SMR) Just Isochronic Tones

Try this pure isochronic tones frequencies in the Sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) range of 12-15 Hz that is helpful for relaxed, laser-like focus (find out more about SMR Waves).

What are common sensory issues with ADHD? ›

ADHD and sensory overload
  • difficulty self-regulating actions or emotions.
  • hyperactivity or hyper-focus.
  • impulsiveness.
  • inability to concentrate or inattentiveness.
  • overly intense response or lack of reaction to different stimuli.
  • lack of awareness of one's own environment.
Sep 20, 2021

Is misophonia linked to intelligence? ›

A recent study by Northwestern University found that misophonia sufferers may be significantly more creatively talented than 'normal' folk thanks to something called 'leaky' sensory gating'.

Are you born with misophonia? ›

Tom Dozier, the director of MI, emphasized that misophonia is a learned condition rather than one people are born with. “You don't have neurons cross-wired or misfiring, you don't have a chemical imbalance, you don't have some defect in your brain telling you these sounds are about to destroy you or eat you.

What makes misophonia worse? ›

Many people complain that misophonia gets worse, but it's more likely that the issues wax and wane according to what's going on in their lives such as stress, health, or sleep. It is possible that over time, a visual association to the sound develops so that just the sight of what causes the noise creates a response.

What medication can help misophonia? ›

We present the first case of using a β-blocker (propranolol) to successfully treat a patient experiencing misophonia and misokinesia. A moderate dose (60 mg) of propranolol completely eliminated multiple auditory and visual trigger symptoms related to other people eating.

Do people with misophonia have different brains? ›

Findings showed that patterns of brain connectivity with finger tapping regions were different in people with misophonia, compared to patterns of connectivity with chewing regions.

Do people with misophonia have anger issues? ›

While misophonia literally means “hatred of sound,” people living with the condition might experience a range of emotions when hearing trigger sounds. Anger tends to be the most common, but others include: anxiety. irritation.

What is ADHD burnout? ›

ADHD burnout is a feeling of exhaustion largely brought on by stress, made more complicated by ADHD symptoms. People with ADHD are more likely to experience burnout. Common signs of ADHD burnout include: irritability. trouble sleeping.

Can ADHD cause emotionless? ›

People with ADHD may be seen as insensitive, self-absorbed, or disengaged with the world around them. Emotional detachment, or the act of being disconnected or disengaged from the feelings of others, is a symptom of ADHD. However, it can also be caused by Adderall, a medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

What ADHD symptoms decrease with age? ›

Symptoms of hyperactivity in ADHD tend to improve the most with age, usually decreasing in late childhood and early adolescence.
There are three main types of ADHD, which can change throughout your life:
  • predominantly hyperactive.
  • predominantly inattentive.
  • combined hyperactivity and inattention.
Jul 7, 2022

What sounds for ADHD sleep? ›

White Noise

The options include the old standbys (Ocean, Streams, and Rain Storms) and some unusual sounds, like Tibetan Singing Bowl and Cat Purring. People with ADHD who chill out best with manmade sounds can choose Clothes Dryer, Fan, Vacuum, or Washer.

Why does white noise help ADHD? ›

Conclusions: The positive effect of white noise is explained by the phenomenon of stochastic resonance (SR), i.e., the phenomenon that moderate noise facilitates cognitive performance. The MBA model suggests that noise in the environment, introduces internal noise into the neural system through the perceptual system.

How do you increase dopamine in ADHD? ›

Several effective medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD work by increasing the impact of dopamine in the body.
You can also do the following to increase your dopamine levels:
  1. Try something new.
  2. Make a list of small tasks and complete them.
  3. Listen to music you enjoy.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. Try meditation or yoga.

How do you test for Misophonia? ›

Misophonia diagnosis

At the moment, there is no such thing as a misophonia test. So one key aspect of diagnosing misophonia is to rule out more common hearing disorders, including age-related hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis, which is reduced tolerance to everyday sounds.

Is misophonia inherited? ›

The Genetics Behind Misophonia

About 15-20% of adults with European ancestry were found to suffer from this condition. This indicates that there's a genetic link to misophonia. A genetic marker located near the TENM2 gene involved in brain development is associated with the feeling of rage at trigger sounds.

How rare is misophonia? ›

The condition is common affecting anywhere between 6% to 20% of people. Those with the more severe forms can find themselves unable to tolerate family, work, public or social situations. Previously, misophonia had been considered a disorder of sound processing.

Is misophonia caused by childhood trauma? ›

There's no evidence that trauma causes misophonia. But people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often develop reflexes to sounds. This can include misophonia. They may also respond more forcefully to loud noises and experience typical sounds as being louder.

Do anxiety meds help misophonia? ›

Medications that help with general mental health symptoms, such as antidepressants or anxiety medications. Often, treating concurrent depression, anxiety, or OCD symptoms can alleviate the intensity of suffering from misophonia.

Are people with misophonia on the spectrum? ›

While hyperacusis and phonophobia are often noted in people with ASD, misophonia occurs in people who may or may not have another diagnosis. Those living with sensory processing disorder may also react to certain stimuli, both auditory and otherwise; again, this is not the same as misophonia.

Is misophonia a form of PTSD? ›

Rouw and Erfanian [5] found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was one of the most common diagnoses in people with misophonia (occurring in 12% of cases). Remarkably, they noted that PTSD was the only comorbid disorder related to the severity of misophonia symptoms.

Do ADHD meds help with sensory issues? ›

Some studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of people with SPD or ADHD will actually have both conditions. This overlap is important for doctors to know, because treatment should be tailored to each child's unique situation. Stimulant medication for ADHD, for example, won't help a child's SPD.

Is ADHD considered to be a disability? ›

Yes. Whether you view attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as neurological — affecting how the brain concentrates or thinks — or consider ADHD as a disability that impacts working, there is no question that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers individuals with ADHD.

Is ADHD uncomfortable in your own skin? ›

Your body may also feel restless when ADHD symptoms intensify, and you may grow incredibly uncomfortable in your own skin. At a certain point, the worries may keep you from completing what you're working on. This, in turn, may make you feel defeated.

What do ADHD brain waves look like? ›

Most patients with ADHD brains have a common brainwave pattern that consist of an abundance of slow (delta or theta) brain waves and a shortage of fast (beta) brain waves. This means that they have a high theta to beta ratio. During training sessions, neurofeedback therapy works to normalize their brain waves.

Does Brown noise work for ADHD? ›

For some people with ADHD, neuron signals in the brain are like fireworks exploding in all directions, Söderlund said. The result can be a “noisy” head with chaotic thoughts competing for attention. White or brown noise appears to help the brain harness the neurons, focus attention and quiet noisy thoughts.

Can people with ADHD have sensory meltdowns? ›


Some of the symptoms of ADHD—such as self-regulation and trouble paying attention to what's going on around you—may themselves induce sensory overload.

Are people with ADHD Neurodivergent? ›

Some of the conditions that are most common among those who describe themselves as neurodivergent include: Autism spectrum disorder (this includes what was once known as Asperger's syndrome). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Down syndrome.

How can you tell the difference between ADHD and sensory processing disorder? ›

ADHD is treated with medications and cannot be impacted by changing the child's environment. A child with SPD is unable to accurately “translate” information received through their senses so that it can be used functionally in life. While some children are hypersensitive to stimuli, others are hyposensitive.

What medications help with misophonia? ›

How to Bring Relief. As of now, there is no proven cure or effective treatment for misophonia. There are various remedies people try. Two medications — Lyrica and Klonopin — have helped some sufferers.

What is the best medication for misophonia? ›

We present the first case of using a β-blocker (propranolol) to successfully treat a patient experiencing misophonia and misokinesia. A moderate dose (60 mg) of propranolol completely eliminated multiple auditory and visual trigger symptoms related to other people eating.

What is the best treatment for misophonia? ›

Misophonia is best treated with a multidisciplinary approach (i.e., primary care physician, psychology, audiology). As Audiologists, we specialize in helping to rewire the auditory portion of the brain while calming the nervous system using prescriptive sound therapy.

Does misophonia get worse with age? ›

Moreover, misophonia can potentially worsen with age if left unaddressed, and give rise to coping strategies (e.g., wearing headphones) that could theoretically worsen sensitivity over time (Palumbo et al., 2018).

Is misophonia a mental disability? ›

Misophonia is a Disability.

These are often referenced as “invisible disabilities” and include mental health disorders as well as neurological and emotional disabilities. For some people, misophonia is mostly manageable within their lives.

Is misophonia related to intelligence? ›

A recent study by Northwestern University found that misophonia sufferers may be significantly more creatively talented than 'normal' folk thanks to something called 'leaky' sensory gating'.

What can make misophonia worse? ›

Common trigger sounds. Any sound can trigger misophonia. However, some sounds are much more likely to be triggers. Sounds on TV, the radio or other electronic devices can trigger misophonia, but the reaction may not be as intense as it would be if the source of the sound were actually close to you.

What is an ADHD meltdown? ›

ADHD meltdowns are sudden outbursts of frustration and anger that seem to come out of nowhere. If your child is struggling to control their emotions, there are ways to help them. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsivity can present in many ways.

Are people born with misophonia? ›

Tom Dozier, the director of MI, emphasized that misophonia is a learned condition rather than one people are born with. “You don't have neurons cross-wired or misfiring, you don't have a chemical imbalance, you don't have some defect in your brain telling you these sounds are about to destroy you or eat you.

Do anxiety meds help with misophonia? ›

Medications that help with general mental health symptoms, such as antidepressants or anxiety medications. Often, treating concurrent depression, anxiety, or OCD symptoms can alleviate the intensity of suffering from misophonia.

Is misophonia a form of OCD? ›

There are no official criteria for diagnosing misophonia in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); however, it has been proposed that misophonia may be most appropriately categorized under “Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders.” In 2013, Schröder and ...


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