The New York Times and NBC's TODAY Show recently ran features on "misophonia," a condition in which people are unable to tolerate certain sounds. The Tinnitus Practitioners Association (TPA) applauds media efforts to bring attention to this little-understood disorder but feels the recent reports stopped short of offering full information about possible treatments.
Marsha Johnson, AuD, a Portland, OR-based doctor of audiology specializing in sound sensitivity disorders, was featured in both segments. Dr. Johnson is a TPA board member and also sits on the board of the American Tinnitus Association. The TODAY Show piece opened with Dr. Johnson but then turned to a network medical contributor who did not offer much hope for the condition.
Roshini Raj, MD, said, "Unfortunately right now we don't have a lot of treatments. And honestly, many doctors don't recognize it as a condition." The segment ended without mentioning that audiologists like Dr. Johnson, with specialized training in sound sensitivity disorders, can offer significant help.
Although public awareness of conditions like misophonia is important, it is just as important for patients and medical professionals to understand that help is available. It also is critical for hearing health professionals to understand the need for advanced training to treat sound sensitivity disorders.
TPA offers the specialized training necessary to provide an excellent standard of care for tinnitus and sound sensitivity patients, and its members are working collectively toward improving evaluation and treatment skills. But more specialists are needed. Audiologists interested in gaining the knowledge and experience to work with sound sensitivity patients may access a schedule of courses and information about educational opportunities on the TPA website, www.tinnituspractitioners.org. The site also offers a listing of practitioners with specialized training.
It is important to have compassion for patients with sound sensitivity disorders and to direct them to the "right place" for help and hope.
TODAY Show segment: today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44438402/ns/today-today_health/
New York Times article: well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/when-normal-sounds-are-excruciating/
For more information:
Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome
Misophonia: Mystifying But Real