Sunday Stories: Misophonia

I learned a new word the other day: misophonia.

Merrium-Webster defines misophonia as “a condition in which one or more common sounds (such as the ticking of a clock, the hum of a fluorescent light, or the chewing or breathing of another person) cause an atypical emotional response (such as disgust, distress, panic, or anger) in the affected person hearing the sound.”

I don’t know if I have that condition, but I do know certain sounds drive me crazy.

A ringing phone agitates me, and I want it to stop—now. If it rings more than once, somebody answer the blasted phone. I could never work in a call center.

Bob and I used to go to jazz concerts in the park with friends, where we sat on blankets, ate our dinner, and had an enjoyable, relaxing evening—or so I thought.

Then, Bob and I always ended up fighting on the way home, and I never understood why.

I finally realized jazz music revved up my insides and irritated the heck out of me, and unfortunately,

I took it out on Bob. After that, we quit going to jazz concerts. Problem solved.

Someone repeatedly clicking a pen; jiggling change in his pocket; the timer on the stove; a weedwhacker; loud car, motorcycle, or jet ski engine noises—all opportunities for aggravation unless I make a concerted effort to remove myself or replace the sound.

But many sounds make me smile—a north wind blowing gentle waves onto the lakeshore, breezes rustling through nearby palmettos and palm trees, Bob’s whistling, moos of cows, and even the loud squawk of a limpkin.

What sounds annoy you? Which ones soothe or make you happy?

Misophonia or no misophonia, we live in a world of sound, pleasant or unpleasant, so it only makes sense to include sound in our stories. It’s a sense that taps into emotion and adds realism to our writing. You may not think to incorporate sound in your first draft, but when you edit, look for opportunities where it might enhance the reader’s experience.

Do you make a point of weaving sound into your work? What types of sounds do you employ most? How do you think adding sound impacts your stories?

Remember, the only way to do this wrong is to not do it at all.

Until next time, happy writing.

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Lisa Marie Webb
1 year ago

In a perfect world for me, clocks would not tick, pens would not click, metal on metal would not squeal, fingers would not repeatedly tap, and the screech of chalk on chalkboards would be forbidden.

1 year ago

A sound that drives me absolutely up a wall is whispering.
I cannot handle it.
I will automatically go into a hysterical mindset and lash out at whoever is whispering.
Even if someone is whispering to me- I go berserk.
And when my dad crunches on potato chips, peppers, his cereal.
I don’t mind chewing sounds but for whatever reason, he cannot chew those things without CRUNCH CRUNCH. CRUNCH.
It doesn’t even sound human.

Holly Martinez
1 year ago

In memory of Alan Angelo Day after day, I drove unaware. I parked, but I knew not where. I’d walk through the front doors of Children’s Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, pulling my husband by the hand and our two sons. Inside the thick glass doors, I somehow got to the elevator, waited for the doors to open, stepped into the ride, and push the button to go to the top floor. The Critically ill patient floor. When the last stop door opened, they immediately took us to the infectious disease quarantine room where we stripped our outer clothing, scrubbed, and… Read more »

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