Michael - Psychology graduate explores misophonia's memory effects

S3 E17 - 1/27/2021
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Michael, a recent psychology master's graduate who conducted a study on misophonia focusing on memory implications. Michael shares his journey, from noticing his misophonia symptoms during high school and using earplugs as a coping mechanism, to deciding to research misophonia's effects on memory as part of his master's project. The study involved online tests with misophonic participants to see if they remembered more trigger-related words. Michael found that misophonics did indeed recall more words, suggesting a strong connection between misophonia and memory. Besides discussing his study, Michael talks about his personal coping strategies, the gradual acceptance and accommodation by his family, and keeping abreast of current research in the field. He emphasizes the need for misophonia to be clinically defined to facilitate more research and hopes for a future where scientific understanding of misophonia advances significantly.


Adeel [0:00]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 3, Episode 17. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. Today I'm talking to Michael, who recently graduated with a master's degree in psychology with a study on Misophonia that we talk about in this episode. Of course, we also get into Michael's Misa origin story, what led him to do this research, and where he'd like to see it go. I'm getting more and more volunteers helping out with proofreading transcriptions of episodes, which has been a huge help. I'm super excited to start posting transcriptions on the site because I know a large part of the community still won't listen to podcasts, no matter how much I edit the audio and add background noise. Totally understandable, of course. But another benefit of transcriptions will be that they will be searchable for researchers looking to study this thing more, which will actually help all of us. If you want to help the cause, you can email me at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or find us on social at Misophonia Podcast on Instagram and Facebook, Misophonia Show on Twitter. All right. Now let's get to my conversation with Michael. Welcome, Michael, to the podcast. It's good to have you.

Michael [1:19]: Thanks, Adeel. It's great to be here.

Adeel [1:22]: So, yeah. Do you want to kind of maybe let us know where you are? uh geographically uh yeah roughly right uh i'm based uh a little bit south of raleigh in a little town called clayton north carolina oh yeah okay cool yeah um great and are you in uh you know you in the initial email where you um booked a book a slot you mentioned that you were that you had done a study while you were in grad school are you still in school you student there

Michael [1:55]: No, I graduated in May of this year, which was just the perfect time to try and enter the job market.

Adeel [2:02]: Yeah. It seems like every 10 years, it's like a complete disaster. It's kind of like a Russian roulette for trying to find a work. So what were you, yeah, I guess let's maybe start there. What were you doing in grad school? Psychology, it sounded like.

Michael [2:21]: Yeah, it was a master's in, well, they call it general, but it was supposed to be experimental psychology, but it's just called general psychology.

Adeel [2:32]: Oh, that sounds interesting. Experimental psychology. Okay. And were you doing a project specifically related to misphonia?

Michael [2:40]: Yes, because as part of the requirements of getting the master's, I had to run my own study. And so the topic of my study, obviously, was misophonia. I was looking mainly at the memory implications of misophonia. Because there's some evidence that, at least neurologically, the systems involved with memory might play some role. And I figured a good way to test that would be to see if there was any functional impacts of it. So that's what I looked at.

Adeel [3:18]: Ah, interesting. Okay. And yeah, maybe do you want to talk about, did you, did you have, I guess, yeah, what led you to that, to that exploration? Like, was there some prior, prior studies that were kind of leading in that direction? Or was this like something you had observed maybe in your own misophonia?

Michael [3:38]: Well, it's kind of funny because the original direction was I was going to look more at attention. Because you know that hyper-focusing on triggers, you know, like when you notice a source, that's all you can focus on. I was originally going to look at, so I was going to look at that. and look at variations in attention and i was going to use but i wanted it to be an online method instead of having to bring people in which turned out to work great because i didn't start data collection until january so halfway through all the in-person stuff would have been cancelled because of covid so i'm kind of lucky i ended up going that route but uh the um The point was to use a memory test as an indirect measurement of attention, which is a bit, probably in hindsight, not the best idea. And my thesis advisor was like, well, why don't we just look at memory? I'm like, huh. And then I went back through to look to see if any previous research had actually been done on it. And despite that little tidbit, and it was the Jasterbroths, I believe, if you know who they are. uh who originally mentioned the possibility of memory playing a role in it but i hadn't actually i couldn't find any studies that looked at memory and misophonia so i figured that it'd be a good place to expand the knowledge a little bit and then so what uh what was kind of the process so on you said this was done online i've heard a bunch of people do um a bunch of uh research groups do research studies but you have to go in um curious what the process was Right. So the whole process, it was actually a two-part process. The first part I actually started in December of 2019. The first part, sorry, the first process was I got 20 mesophonics, or I think you call them mesophones. There's no real term for it, but... But uh I got 20 news of phonics from the support group on Facebook that I'm in I got the admins permission to post a call For participation which was nice Because I probably wouldn't have been able to get that many people without it But uh I posted I posted the call and what I had the first 20 people do was I had a list of 101 onomatopoeias which just for anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's the words that represent sounds. So like, you know, in the old Batman cartoons, the pow and pow and that kind of stuff. But I selected onomatopoeias related to misophonic triggers. And I don't know if you want me to say them. I don't want to accidentally trigger anyone.

Adeel [6:33]: You can say them. Yeah. As long as we don't get into making them. But yeah.

Michael [6:37]: Right. Okay. So like crunch, slurp, smack, those specific words and stuff like them. And what I did is I had them rate all of those onomatopoeias on a scale of one to seven. in terms of how triggering they were and I used that information to make a recall memory test which is basically you present a bunch of inputs you distract the person and then you later ask them to recall the things you presented them and i wanted to see if uh specifically i wanted to see if mesophonics remembered more words in general than controls since as they were all mesophonic stimuli they'd be a lot more interested in them probably stick in their head better at least as the thought process would go i also wanted to see if those ratings like how triggering a word was influenced how often a word would be uh remembered uh gotcha and so then once i had the words the second part was basically just administering the memory test so i sent out the links and it was all done on call trucks which is the yeah it's like a survey kind of online software Yeah. And I had like access to the pro version that was included with my tuition as a student. So I didn't have to spend any money on that, which is nice.

Adeel [8:07]: Again, tuition used for good. Excellent.

Michael [8:10]: Yeah. I mean, you might as well. I could go off on a tangent about all the useless things that my tuition went to, but there were a few good things. Right. But anyways, the where was I?

Adeel [8:24]: So you sent it. Yeah, I sent up the call. Yeah. Maybe how did you tabulate the results and what did you find?

Michael [8:31]: Right. So analysis. Well, I don't want to get too technical. The way I tabulated the results was basically when I got all the information and I piped it through SPSS to look at how many items, how often each item was recalled, specifically in terms of like what group they were in. So I didn't really look to see how many times crunch was recalled versus smack, but if it was a level 5, or actually it ended up getting broken into two groups, high triggering and low triggering. So I looked at how many high triggering items were recalled versus low triggering. And then I also looked at that data compared to were they in the mesophonic group or control group. So it was basically just the number of how many high and how many low items was how it was tabulated. And I did find a statistically significant impact of Musophonia trigger quality, like being high versus low. I found an effect on recall memory. Higher items tended to be recalled more regardless than lower items, which was expected. But what wasn't expected was I didn't find any impact on being Musophonic versus Control. They both seemed to have similar recall rates. And I went into a few possible explanations for that. My best guess would probably be it was an issue of classification. Because, I mean, besides self-reports, you know, like saying, are you misophonic? I wanted to validate, are they misophonic versus controls empirically? So I used the Amsterdam Misophonia Scale. And if they... If someone scored above the cutoff point, they were put in a musophonic group. And if they didn't, they were put in the control group. And as it turns out, and I specifically picked that one because at the time, at the time it was like still this year, but it feels like five years ago. Tell me about it, yeah. But at the time, it was the most widely used misophonia scale. So that's the one I went with. But there's some issues with there's not a lot of evidence for its validity. So that's a possible reason. And there's like 50 things that could have gone into making that result wonky. But the good news was I did actually find something that would catch people's interest at the very least.

Adeel [11:16]: yeah gotcha okay so you you found out there was uh there was high level um um high level of effect on on memory at least for the high triggers i mean right and um like specifically how triggering an item was had a had a impact on how often it was recalled yeah Right, but you're saying the line was a little bit blurred between the control and the people who reported misophones or misophonics, but that possibility could be that the Amsterdam scale is maybe not the best way to classify self-reported cases of misophonia?

Michael [11:56]: right exactly because um i had it yes exactly and uh if i don't if i go in the loop or if i'm not explaining things properly just let me know no no i know this i've marinated in this whole thing for yeah over a year now so i might make assumptions about you know oh obviously they know what i'm talking about when i say this but anyways um

Adeel [12:22]: No, it's very interesting. And so you finished, you graduated in May. Recently, you know, the 2020 Misophonia research grants were awarded to a number of groups around the country. That might be interesting. Is maybe joining a group or pursuing Misophonia research further kind of part of your, something you're interested in? Or was it just kind of like something you're, something you did to finish off your degree and you're looking for other stuff now.

Michael [12:56]: Well, it's definitely a big motivator. Like I want to work in research and that would definitely be something I want to work more in specifically. I'm currently sending out applications for PhD programs, so I have to keep my mind open about the specifics because it's all about do your interests match with a faculty member? So I might have to have some wiggle room there, but Yeah, misophonia is definitely my main interest. Being misophonic myself kind of puts that personal stake into it.

Adeel [13:34]: Yeah, yeah. So, and had you done work on misophonia in the past before that project?

Michael [13:42]: No.

Adeel [13:42]: Maybe a science fair project in junior high or something? No.

Michael [13:46]: no no it's funny you mentioned that i didn't even know misophonia was a thing until like my last semester of high school up until that point i had just always referred to it as my weird sound issue yeah yes as many of us many of us have

Adeel [14:05]: But but yeah, maybe we should go back. So your weird sound issue, was that something that like how far back did it go? And did you is that did you tell everybody about your weird sound issue? Or was that something you just kind of bottled up?

Michael [14:20]: Oh, well, if I had tried to bottle it up, I definitely failed, because it was very obvious that I was not happy when those sounds were around. So, no, everyone knew. And as for how far back it goes, that's a bit interesting, because my memory of it is that it started around mid to late middle school. but I was talking to my parents a couple weeks ago, and they mentioned something that might mean that it was actually a bit sooner, because when I was a kid, I had this obsession with... Well, obsession. Fear of insects that make that buzzing noise when they fly around. I would be distraught whenever I heard it, and I don't have that issue now. I... was diagnosed with OCD and I took medicine and therapy for that and that seemed to help with that but my parents brought up the point that that could be a type of misophonia like because all triggers usually are like eating sounds they can be like mechanical or of course animal or insects and if that's the case then I've been having symptoms of misophonia since I was about a year and a half which kind of blew my mind when I put that together

Adeel [15:41]: Yeah, I have heard one or two cases of people remembering things or at least having family members point out something going back to a very, very early age like that. So it's not, yeah, not unheard of, at least in my experience. Interesting. Okay, so yeah, so late, mid to late, but mid to late junior high is around when you really started to become self-aware of your own misophonia. And did it start at home?

Michael [16:10]: uh yes uh my sister used to have uh her best friend uh for a short while was living with us due to some family issues and she tended to eat very aggressively i'll just put it and uh that was uh it was just one morning i just really noticed it and it started annoying me and i didn't know this until recently my dad actually noticed my reaction to that because he's like i remember seeing you like eating with your sister and m and you just were like staring daggers at her and because that was my mo is that i would just yeah the the dagger eyes i just give that i just couldn't handle it like i couldn't hold it in but uh so yeah that would be around when i first noticed it especially specifically around like eating sounds which is where they where the uh triggers for me are now

Adeel [17:15]: Did you have any other, well, I guess, did it start to proliferate or start to blossom after that? Like more sounds triggering you, more people?

Michael [17:26]: Yeah, that typical progression of it was focused around her, and then it spread out into more contexts. I got a bit of the visual. I have visuals, too, you know, the mouth moving, but that kind of waxes and wanes. So, like, it isn't always an issue, but then sometimes it really is an issue, so I don't entirely know why. But, yeah, it definitely did. And also the intensity of it also kind of wavers. Like, I remember it being extremely bad in high school. Like, I remember, like, white-knuckling a lot of classes. I think it was stress-related?

Adeel [18:12]: Or... You know, it's usually one of the proportional comorbid, starting to use inappropriately complicated words, but it's usually one of the accompanying factors is stress level.

Michael [18:30]: It very well could have been. I mean... High school was not too terribly stressful. Well, you know what? I haven't been in high school in six years. Now I don't remember. For me, it probably was pretty stressful. Or it was a bit of a feedback loop of my music phonia adding on to the stress. Yeah, that's the thing.

Adeel [18:51]: Right, right. Okay, so you're white knuckling it through probably, you know, just kids being kids and doing their stupid sounds. Okay, yeah.

Michael [19:00]: yeah it wasn't until oh sorry

Adeel [19:04]: No, no, no.

Michael [19:04]: Go ahead. It wasn't until, I want to say, when was it? Maybe a year or two into high school that it occurred to me that earplugs exist, which is my current go-to, I think you like to call it armor. Yeah, right. It's just to dampen it a little bit. Yeah. But before then, I was just bare, letting it all hit me with no sort of... protection or anything it was just and in hindsight it really was kind of funny what made me think of it because i went to a shooting range and they gave me earplugs because you know guns are loud and then it clicked i'm like wait if these can block out the sounds of guns or at least make them yeah

Adeel [19:53]: right right two plus two equals four yeah it is right and uh it's interesting so do you have a favorite pair of uh or favorite brand of earplugs that uh that you swear by

Michael [20:07]: Uh, I swear by Max, uh, the little, uh, I think it's M-A-C-K-S. You find them in, they're pretty cheap. You find them in any sort of, uh, like drugstore or the generics, just those little soft flesh colored ones. I like to cut them a little bit at the end, like at the flat end so that they don't stick out as far. And I keep a little, uh, Ziploc baggie of them. in my pocket wherever I go. So I've always got them on standby.

Adeel [20:35]: Interesting. Yeah, I've heard people throw them on keychains too. just anything that's kind of always on them. And interesting, so earplugs, and obviously earplugs kind of dampen sound a bit, but I always kind of consider them as kind of the backup armor and, you know, earphones or headphones that are kind of the main, kind of the bazooka because you can just, you know, drown any sounds out. Do you use earplugs maybe just so you can have a better sense of what's going on around you?

Michael [21:10]: Yeah, that's the main thing, because even without my earplugs on and even without any sort of triggers in the area, I'm very easily distractible. Like I wander off into my head a lot and I'll stop paying attention like halfway through a conversation. I'm extremely ADHD, like clinically distracted. So I definitely didn't want to have more sounds over top of anything I was trying to hear. I think one reason I didn't really use the headphones was because I didn't want to get distracted. Another thing was, especially here when it first started, My parents were never, you know, jerks about it, but they kind of didn't, my dad specifically, he got a BA in psychology. He's not working in psychology. He's a recruiter now, but... So he was trying to apply exposure therapy to it, which I'm sure you know doesn't work very well for misophonia. So they would get kind of annoyed when I'd like... put headphones in so which is actually why i started using the cut down earplugs because it wasn't as obvious i mean if and of course back then we didn't have the uh the pods you know the little wireless in-ear things that you know you could hide uh And especially in school, because I don't know how other people's schools were, but my school was not friendly to having your phone or headphones on in class, like that stuff you get written up for. So even if I did end up using that...

Adeel [22:58]: it wouldn't have worked for class which was at least at that time the biggest problem area uh being stuck in a room with people smacking and popping all day like i don't know it's understood yeah absolutely um yeah that's uh yeah that's interesting so you're you know i wanted to ask about uh reactions of people around you so obviously your dad noticed um they want to do some exposure therapy which yeah i haven't heard any like good reviews of exposure therapy from anyone who's been on the podcast but uh how did it um they so so let's back up so they you uh were medicated for a little bit for ocd did they kind of consider professional help for their for misophonia for you or maybe it wasn't even considered maybe a a real disease until recently.

Michael [23:55]: Oh, yeah. Like back then, I didn't have a word for it. It was just my weird thing. Weird sound. And I was still in therapy for OCD and also regular checkups because I was I've also medicated for ADHD. So you have to like for the first couple of years, I think you're supposed to have someone really monitor your how it's affecting you especially when it starts that early because i started getting medicated when i was six or seven so they wanted to keep a close eye on that but we did bring that up to her and but like most people she hadn't heard of anything like it uh so her advice if i remember correctly was mainly a lot of like uh I think the most I really remember is she suggested me mimicking the sounds to gain some control over it, which never really helped me. I never really found it helpful. If anything, I think it would make me even more agitated because it'd be like, me verbalizing, hey, you're being really loud and annoying. And then they don't seem to even notice. And that just adds that extra layer of like, well, screw you, buddy. You know?

Adeel [25:16]: Yeah, I guess there's two... Some people, for some reason... are feel better way if it's kind of starting to amass the other sound but if you're doing it for the purpose of trying to broadcast your or trying to uh yeah broadcast your displeasure in kind of a passive aggressive way and and doesn't get a reaction yeah i could see how it cycle a spiral into uh something worse um yeah interesting okay um So yeah, mimicking, yeah, mimicking is definitely something that people bring up. What, how about like, I don't know, like friends at school? How did it start to, did they start to notice and did it start to affect like who you were able to hang out with?

Michael [26:02]: Well, my friends were actually pretty understanding. Like, even before I had a word for it, they'd be pretty chill about it. Obviously, in situations like the cafeteria, which actually, funny enough, wasn't that bad like you know you know the whole in a louder setting it isn't as bad as like being in a smaller quieter setting uh so at least in school it wasn't that much of an issue and then outside of school uh they'd for you know they might forget and like pull out a bag of chips or something and i just gently be like um could you not And they'd be like, oh, sorry. So short answer was it didn't really affect me too badly because I had some really understanding friends. So I lucked out in that department at least. But I didn't tend to broadcast the issue. like at school only people who knew me knew about it and because one i was sort of worried about people like you hear about some people i've listened to a couple episodes of your podcast and i can't remember who it was but i remember someone you had on talking about how some people would like make triggers intentionally just to see the reaction or something yes most people right yeah so i was trying to avoid that and then also just because when you really look at it rationally you know you're i'm the one with the issue i didn't want to at least my thinking back then was i didn't want to put a burden on other people just to make me feel better so most people unless they actually knew me outside of like school or work would have no idea i had an issue

Adeel [27:49]: Right, yeah, that's a common thing, the burden, the guilt, the shame of not wanting to subject other people to your own issue. And so you said, like, around, did you say you found out they had a name, like, last semester of high school?

Michael [28:08]: Yeah, so I don't remember why, but out of nowhere, I just decided to Google the phrase, I can't stand the sound of people eating. And then I found a website for 4S selective sound sensitivity syndrome popped up. And I'm like, oh, man. it it's a thing with a name just a random impulse just to type in my sim and i still to this day don't know what took me so long because whenever i had a i mean i grew up with the internet so whenever i had an issue i always googled it so i've always been curious as to why i never thought to google that but then i guess at a certain point it just becomes such a background thing like Well, not background, but just, like, constant. Like, you don't really question it, you know?

Adeel [28:57]: And then I don't know what... Like, it's a weird sound issue. It's probably what a lot of us thought growing up is, like, well, growing up, it's kind of affected us around that age where things start to get weird. And so with ourselves, and maybe we just think it's our weird kind of idiosyncrasy. So we don't bother to look it up.

Michael [29:18]: But, like... I actually, this might be a little off topic, but it got me thinking about it. I actually sort of specifically talking about the Googling thing because I recently contributed a blog post to differentbrains.org. It's this neurodiversity website. And I got in contact with the guy. I connected with the guy who runs... Dr. Wright a couple months ago on LinkedIn, and he offered to let me post something on there. And what I did was I wrote basically a first-person perspective of that story, of me finding out about it, looking into it. And then I also mixed in a bunch of data points about current research and what we know, trying to get a little misophoniatic glance type thing. Actually, that's the title of it, Misophoniatic Glance. Oh, nice. Yeah. And I actually got an interview with him later today, like three my time. Oh, cool. Yeah. To talk about misophonia for his web series.

Adeel [30:26]: Oh, very cool. Okay. Yeah. Well, we're going to be, I'll cut this up at a website, putting like transcripts of every episode and all this stuff, but also have a blog section where I'm going to be looking for guest bloggers who just kind of want to write something about me. So if they'd like, so maybe I'll hit you up once that's finally ready.

Michael [30:46]: Oh, yeah.

Adeel [30:47]: If you're interested in writing something, get your name out there.

Michael [30:50]: I mean, considering how everything's locked down, that's the only thing I can't do at the moment. Just get it out wherever I can.

Adeel [30:57]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool. Okay. Yeah, so you Googled it. And yeah, issues with the eating sounds or chewing is a common thing that people... Straight to Google for us. So what was that like then when you realized that, oh, my God, this is a real thing?

Michael [31:18]: It was vindicating. Like, I'm not crazy. Like, it's a thing. It was like... The most comforting thing I'd ever had in relation to the whole issue. Just knowing it wasn't just me was a huge relief. And it kind of made it easier to deal with, to an extent. It's still... uh bothers me obviously but it's like it isn't as much of a dark isolating pit as i remember it being before i found out there were other people you know it's like i might be repeating myself but just knowing it wasn't just me uh kind of lessened the load i guess i could say of having to deal with it

Adeel [32:11]: Yeah, no, you're right. When you find out or when you find other people with it, something gets released where it has less of an effect, at least temporarily. Not sure what that connection is there, but I'm sure that will be part of some future research. But yeah, that's interesting. A lot of people report that. And another thing a lot of people report is that once they find out it does have a name, they're often like researching it like 24-7, many sleepless nights just to kind of learn everything about it because it's had such an impact on your life.

Michael [32:49]: Oh yeah, definitely. And that's definitely what I did. And especially the name thing, like being able to say, hey, I am Misophonia. And maybe I have to, obviously I have to tell them what that is, but having a name to it instead of saying, hey, I'm just kind of weird about sounds. Having a name to it, I think also makes people more likely to like take you seriously because it sort of makes it, gives it legitimacy in some sense, I think.

Adeel [33:18]: Did you start to run into the streets and start saying, skipping along, I have misophonia, here's what it's all about? Or was it something you selectively told people?

Michael [33:32]: Uh, well, not the streets, uh, but I did go, but I did, uh, crash through the hallways of my house, uh, telling everyone who was home about it. Um, but yeah, told all my friends and family, like the second I found out about it and, uh, Then after that, it kind of went back to being something I sort of just keep to myself just because, again, it was the whole not wanting to bring attention to it in me specifically and bothering other people with it. But if, for instance, I had one time in undergrad when someone... And I'm sure other people have noticed my earplugs, but most of the time I never get comments on it. I'm pretty sly about keeping them in and they fit well. But I had one guy come up to me and ask me – we were like acquaintances, you know, that sort of quote-unquote friends you have in one class. And then once that class is over, you're just like, all right, have fun existing. Bye. Yeah. But he was like, are those earplugs? I was like, yeah, I have mesophonia, and it's this. I explained it to him, and he's like, huh, interesting. And you never heard from him again? Well, that came later. But what he did tell me was, that sounds a lot like my brother. And that's another thing I've been hearing too, is like the more I talk to people about it, the more common I've seen it to be, right? Like earlier this year, before everything shut down, I was at a conference, a psychology conference in Vegas presenting my in-progress data for my thesis project. And every person who came, almost every person who came by to look at my poster was like, oh, that sounds like my daughter or, huh, that sounds like this guy I know. It's like they didn't have a name for it, but a lot of people seem to understand what you mean when you describe it.

Adeel [35:37]: Yeah, I think it's highly underreported or underdiagnosed condition.

Michael [35:47]: Which makes sense because there isn't even a real diagnostic criteria yet because the DSM is like, nah, we're not going to put it in there yet. But I'm sure you know about that.

Adeel [35:59]: Right. Yeah. That comes up at the convention every year is like, what codes should we put this under for various treatments? And after you found out how to name, I'm curious, did that start to change how you were coping with it other than telling people? Did you find other coping mechanisms or have earplugs been your solid go-to?

Michael [36:24]: Definitely pretty much just stuck with the earplugs. They were working well enough, and I didn't want to rock the boat. So it didn't really change my coping methods, but I think it just made them, at least for a little bit, made them more effective. You know, you get that little high of knowing, oh my goodness, this is a thing. But other than that, I think things stayed pretty much the same.

Adeel [36:51]: Yeah. And how about these days, like day to day? Are you living in a relatively quiet place? It sounds like you have some new neighbors that need to be dealt with decisively. No, but yeah, how is the day to day for you these days?

Michael [37:10]: Uh, these days it's, uh, not, uh, misophonia wise. It's not that much of an issue. Um, because currently, since I graduated and haven't been able to get a job because, you know, the whole world, yeah, 2020, I've moved back in with my parents for a bit. And since they already know about me and we kind of worked out a system while I was growing up. So that hasn't been an issue. Uh, the job I currently have, I've got a stop gap job. my old uh delivery driver route with dominoes uh and that doesn't usually pose it pose much of an issue because i mean you don't have to watch the people eat you just give them the food yeah exactly like the worst thing that would happen is maybe a co-worker is popping gum like in the store but uh my store is very busy and since i'm a driver i spend most of my time yeah coming in grabbing stuff and then immediately leaving so i don't spend a lot of time around it

Adeel [38:08]: Um, I'm sure, you know, we have a lot of, uh, young people listening and parents, uh, curious when we hear about this, uh, you know, system you worked out with your parents, is it, uh, just like a, maybe a warning system or a kind of a meal, like a etiquette around meals. So I'm curious how, what you guys, what you guys have going on there.

Michael [38:29]: Well, I made it sound a lot more formal than it actually is in reality. But basically, it's just that if I'm, like, coming through, if I'm walking through the room to, like, get somewhere because of the layout of the house, if they're, like, in the living room eating something, they'll, like, pause for a little bit to let me get by and then I can grab my stuff and then I leave. If we're all hanging out and if we're going to, like, If we're eating in the living room, because we don't, funny enough, we have a dining room table, but we kind of just, like, if we're eating together, we just, like, go in the living room to watch TV. And usually they'll strategically get foods that are not, you know, loud, like chips and stuff like that. They'll usually try to keep that to a minimum. And then the biggest thing is they don't get offended if I just up and leave, you know, just, like, all right, that's enough exposure for today. I'm going to go to my room and detox for a little bit.

Adeel [39:32]: Yeah. This is fantastic.

Michael [39:33]: That's another thing is just, I think I would think is that, and that I remember actually from high school is that feeling of guilt that you mentioned, you know, when you like walk up and leave, it's like, man, I look like a jerk just like leaving in the middle of something. But once they know and they understand, Hey, I'm just, I can't handle any more of this, but you also deserve to have sustenance. So it's a good compromise. I leave for a few minutes, then I come back, and then everything's good.

Adeel [40:04]: Yeah. That recovery period for you, is it... It can just be very quick. And so it does tend to be pretty quick, especially maybe when you have this kind of understanding with people, at least for me, if yeah, if there is some kind of acknowledgement of the trigger, then the recovery time is shorter. But if it's like if it just feels like there's a lot of ignorance around it, then it could take a much longer time because you're dealing with that that that, you know,

Michael [40:39]: that sense of you're under attack intentionally right and that is def it definitely does play a big role that understanding does make it a lot quicker uh but on the flip side when they do mess up or if someone does mess up yeah it makes it a little bit more of a punch because then it's like with others with strangers like well they don't know but if it's someone you know it's like you know what you did

Adeel [41:08]: That'll be the teaser quote of this episode.

Michael [41:13]: You know what you did.

Adeel [41:14]: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I guess at that point, it takes a while to get your mind around the idea that it was just like a slip up or a mistake. But yeah, I can see how we would go. That was intentional. You're trying to get at me for something because you know. Yeah.

Michael [41:37]: Yeah, but fortunately, that's just like a quick impulse and then it fades away. That's great.

Adeel [41:47]: Especially, and I'm sure, you know, regular regulars would find it weird that... the visual of you walking, of us walking into a room and then everyone else freezing for a second. But I think everyone listening knows exactly what we're talking about. And we definitely appreciate something like that. Because, yeah, I mean, at that point, it's like, for me, I noticed it's like, it's not just the sounds, but it can be the visuals. Like, I don't want to, like, I just want to be able to walk through a room and not see something. It's especially annoying when it's, I'm walking, through a room because it's like, okay, this should be quick. I'm not staying here. I shouldn't be getting visually triggered because that would kind of piss me off double that I get visually triggered just for like doing a quick flyby. Anyways, fascinating. Good stuff. Good work with your parents there. Are you still kind of looking at the research that's going on out there? Is there anything that you'd like to point out or anything that looks promising?

Michael [42:50]: Yes, actually. I regularly attend the webinars that Dr. Brout has with her research network.

Adeel [43:02]: Dr. Jennifer Brout at Duke, yeah.

Michael [43:06]: Also, the Duke Center for Misophonia and Emotional Regulation, which is something that they opened up, I want to say, fall of last year, has already started putting out some good stuff. They've developed a new self-report measure, which isn't The research on it hasn't been published, but you can't actually get a copy of it. And from what I can understand, it's probably going to be a lot more valid of a measurement scale, which is going to be nice because when I do get a chance to do more misophonia research, I would probably want something better than the Amsterdam scale. Yeah, and then the Duke quarterly research update. If you look up the... If you just Google Duke Misophonia Center, you'll be able to find the actual website of what the lab is called. And their quarterly updates have a lot of good information. I remember they had one not too long ago. They were going over some research that was looking at modifying certain treatment methods based on the McGurkin effect. i think it's called uh i don't know if you know this it's um if you play a if you play a video of just someone's mouth like saying like da like just saying the word da but you superimpose no wait if you i got that backwards If you play an audio clip of someone saying da, but then you superimpose a visual of someone's mouth making ba, your brain will actually hear it as ba instead because visual information tends to overwrite or inform your processing of auditory information. And they were looking at that, and they did something similar. I can't remember who they were. I'd have to look up the lab again. that actually ran that study. But they did something similar with making visuals of someone tearing a piece of paper, but they superimposed the sounds of someone eating hard candy to see if the sounds If that visual association of something non-triggering with something triggering would actually lessen the effect, they actually found that they could lessen the impact of misophonia triggers by pairing them with positive stimuli. So sort of like the opposite of how triggers tend to develop, where you get that negative association. They're looking at instead of exposure therapy, you know, trying to desensitize people to triggers, which, as we know, does not work very well. They're looking at trying to change the nature of the association people have with those sounds.

Adeel [46:02]: Right. So keeping a sensitivity, not messing with that sensitivity, but kind of bending it back towards more positive association.

Michael [46:16]: Yeah, that's my understanding of it. I have to go back and look through it because I got like halfway through that video when it was live and then something happened and I had to leave before it finished. But I have the recording of it. I just haven't had a chance to finish watching it. But yeah, I definitely recommend looking them up too.

Adeel [46:38]: Yeah, no, I heard about the group. I didn't realize there was a quarterly newsletter or whatever. That's just really interesting. I'll look that up and try to report stuff. In the podcast, I was thinking of having Yeah, basically reporting more news on top of these one-on-one conversations. Oh, definitely. That's interesting.

Michael [47:00]: Yeah. That's a good idea because, I mean, research in the last 10 years for Musophonia has really been ramping up. That's where most of the research has been is in the last 10 years. So you can collect all the information that's already there. It'll be a lot easier to keep people up to date once new stuff starts pouring in.

Adeel [47:22]: Yeah, yeah. And this new research fund, I think, is just going to multiply that. So that's great. Cool. Well, Michael, yeah, it's been really interesting just kind of hearing about your background, but also kind of the research that you've been in and that you've heard about. Anything else you want to tell folks about MISO? Maybe your own or something you've heard or maybe something you'd hope to research?

Michael [47:52]: Something I'd hope to research. Dang. I love that open.

Adeel [47:56]: I mean, it could be any of those things, but... Right.

Michael [48:01]: Dang, those are all possible avenues.

Adeel [48:04]: I tend to leave my questions a little too wide open and then people are like, what should I say?

Michael [48:11]: First of all, the big thing I would imagine is we'd need to do enough research to really describe mesophonia clinically and get it a diagnostic code. Because while the mesophonia research funds you're talking about, was it the Rehm Foundation that you're thinking of?

Adeel [48:29]: Yeah, exactly. Milken Institute, Rehm Foundation. Yeah.

Michael [48:33]: right because that's different names because that's great but it without like a diagnostic code it's a lot harder to get research from places like the national institute of health or something you know and we're gonna need a lot more research to really get to the nitty-gritty of things so if we can as a field, whether, and I always look at it through a psychological lens, because I'm a psych major, but, you know, I also think that it's important that it's studied through multiple modalities or professions, so, like, audiologists still need to play a role, because I remember when you were talking to Dr. Johnson, there was that, and she was going through, originally, people were telling her, like, This is a psych problem. What the hell are you doing with this? Right. No, no, because... Yeah, she's an audiologist, and it's an auditory issue. So every relevant or even somewhat relevant field needs to come together and work on actually defining it, because that's the big thing. There's no need to be territorial about it. Yeah, because without a definition, it's not going to get in any diagnostic code. Yeah. So I guess that would probably be my... top pick of where the research should go first and then after that like you said there's like a whole world that you could explore with it I'm trying not to ramble too much

Adeel [50:06]: No, this is interesting. I didn't even think, I mean, I know about diagnostic codes, but I didn't realize how pivotal they are in opening up doors to potential research. Right.

Michael [50:16]: And this is not my knowledge because, you know, I'm not, I've only had one study under my belt. This is stuff I've heard from like... Actually, I'm pretty sure that was mentioned in the webinar I was talking about how that's important getting those codes to get funding But yeah, that's definitely Important because without money science doesn't happen. It's a sad fact of life. Right, right

Adeel [50:44]: interesting okay um well yeah uh well let's leave it on that note uh hopefully uh somebody else will pick up the baton um or you know we can all work together to to make that happen and get even more research going on optimist cautiously optimistic despite everything that's happening otherwise in the world cautiously optimistic that the 20s to 2020s might hold some good answers or treatments for misophonia.

Michael [51:10]: Yeah. Get all the bad karma out right at the beginning so the rest of this decade can be just good times.

Adeel [51:17]: Exactly. Well, let's leave it on that note then. Thank you, Michael, for coming on and sharing all this great information with us.

Michael [51:27]: Oh, absolutely a deal. I love coming on here, and I also love listening to this. Not to stretch it out too much longer, but because I actually have learned a couple of things listening to the people talk on the podcast. So it's definitely a good resource to get that good qualitative, descriptive data that's kind of hard to come by elsewhere.

Adeel [51:51]: Yeah. No, I appreciate that. And I'm glad that that's happening. That was definitely a big part of starting this. So thanks.

Michael [51:58]: Not a problem.

Adeel [51:59]: Thanks again, Michael. Always great to hear about research and hear from researchers, especially those that have the condition that they are, in fact, researching. Remember, you can reach out anytime on Instagram or Facebook at Missiphonia Podcast or Twitter at Missiphonia Show. Email at hello at missiphoniapodcast.com. If you're enjoying the shows, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.