Shane Dawson reveals he is "living with misophonia" - but what is it?

23 July 2019, 17:01 | Updated: 23 July 2019, 17:05

Shane Dawson
Shane Dawson. Picture: Instagram: @shanedawson / YouTube: Shane Dawson

By Rachel Finn

"Living with misophonia is really exhausting, but just know that you aren’t alone..."

Shane Dawson recently spoke about experiencing misophonia and how the condition makes him feel exhausted and isolated.

Taking to Twitter to share a video that explains what the condition is (more on that later), he wrote: “living with misophonia is really exhausting and can make u feel very isolated but just know that you aren’t alone. i didn’t even know there was a term for it until this year and now that i know it’s not something i’m making up in my head it’s helped a bit.”

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After sharing the news online, many fans offered Shane messages of support, as well as sharing their own stories of experiencing the condition.

One fan commented: “Mine has made me turn nasty towards people and I feel so bad and I’m trying to work on it :(“ to which Shane reached out to them to offer support, saying: “Me too :( just know u aren’t alone and next time u feel like snapping just remember that ur not crazy and that it’s a very real thing. knowing that it’s a real thing has helped me a lot and made me feel less guilty all the time for getting internally frustrated”.

“My whole childhood I was told ‘stop being so irritable’,” he added. “I always had so much guilt over it. but now that i know it’s not my fault it’s helped a lot. Next time someone thinks ur exaggerating send them a video on it. maybe it will help?"

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia - literally meaning “hatred of sound” - is a term that was created in 2000 to describe a condition where negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds.

The sounds that trigger it tend to be soft sounds - one study found that about 80% of the sounds were related to the mouth and around 60% were repetitive. Common sounds hated by misophonia sufferers include eating, slurping, chewing gum and whispering.

Importantly, it’s different from just being annoyed by a sound - Misophonia sufferers will have more extreme reactions to sounds that they hate, such as involuntary anger, aggression, discomfort or, in extreme cases, violence.

But, it’s not an official psychiatric diagnosis, so there’s been relatively little research into exactly what causes it or how it can be treated, although some people with the condition seek out therapy to try and learn coping strategies to control it.

It’s thought that there are similarities between misophonia and tinnitus, which causes a ringing sensation in your ears. Because of this, some researchers suggest that misophonia is linked to hyper-connectivity between different parts of the brain, meaning there are too many connections between the neurons that regulate hearing and emotion, leading to unpleasant emotional reactions to triggering sounds.

How have fans reacted?

Fans have reacted in a mostly positive way to the news, with many sharing stories of how they experience the condition themselves or thanking Shane for teaching them about something they didn’t know existed.

One fan shared: “I hate that people think I'm just easily annoyed or that I'm really uptight. The reality is that when I hear repetitive noises like a pen clicking, I can't focus on anything else. The noise is deafening to me and I struggle to do simple day to day tasks because of it.”

“Wow Shane! Thank you for doing this!” said another. ”I have struggled with Misophonia since I was 12 years old, it is horrible. The worst thing about this is that you feel crazy and alone, because your parents, your friends and the rest of your family thinks you are a psychopath... it is hard”.

Another said: “I just opened Twitter and saw you speak out about this- I cried so hard. My misophonia is triggered when people make an “S” sound when speaking. It makes me someone who I’m not. It makes me hateful."

"Thank you for speaking out on an issue that does not have much awareness.”