Paul - Navigating parenting and validation through education

S4 E14 - 6/2/2021
In this episode, Adeel speaks with Paul from Los Angeles about their experiences and challenges with misophonia, emphasizing parenting during the pandemic, educating children about misophonia, and dealing with sound sensitivity. Paul shares his journey of coming to terms with misophonia, including the difficulty of managing sounds at home with his children and the role of earplugs in his life. A significant moment for Paul was using an educational podcast episode to help his daughter understand his condition better, leading to a sense of validation. They discuss the physical and emotional strains of misophonia, including feeling overwhelmed in noisy environments and the social nuances of explaining their condition to others. Adeel and Paul also touch on the potential overlap between misophonia, OCD, and depression. The conversation concludes with Paul emphasizing the importance of normalizing misophonia to reduce guilt and shame associated with the condition.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia podcast. This is episode 14 of season 4. My name is Adeel Ahmad and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Paul in Los Angeles. I love this conversation because it turned out we have a lot in common. And actually through the conversation Paul asked me a lot of things so you can get a peek into my experiences a little more than usual, if you care about that. But anyway, so many conversations here feel like, you know, I've just met an old friend, and this one is no exception. We talk about parenting as a misophone, especially during the pandemic, how to explain misophonia to your kids, how to explain it to adults. Paul also uses earplugs a lot and has some advice on them. Plus, we talked about the role of music in his life and how it relates to misophonia. So much more. Just an amazing conversation. Also, please start getting hyped because next week I'm bringing an emergency pod with Dr. Merced Erfanian, a co-author of the recent earth-shaking research by Dr. Kumar's group on the motor cortex and its relation to misophonia. You're not going to want to miss that one. As always, if you're enjoying the shows, you can support by leaving a super quick rating or review in iTunes or wherever you listen to the show and follow it on social media at Misophonia Podcast. All right, now let's get to my conversation with Paul.

Paul [1:25]: Let's do it, man.

Adeel [1:26]: All right. Well, Paul, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Paul [1:30]: Thank you. I'm really glad to be here. You are the very first person that I've ever spoken to that also has Misophonia.

Adeel [1:39]: Excellent. Yeah. You're actually not the first person who has said that. It's always an honor to be the first person. So, yeah, maybe let's start with that. I guess you haven't talked to anybody about Misophonia yet. You've known you've had it for probably some time?

Paul [2:00]: Well, it's interesting because it probably wasn't until last year, maybe during the pandemic. that um i i did some more research and was able to put a name to it i mean i've always known that i've had sound issues is what i've always called them you know and um it was just and then i just started doing some research and i i you know found your podcast i found some other things but i've never really met anyone else that has you know would identify and say i have this

Adeel [2:34]: Yeah. So what was it about the pandemic specifically that was that was kind of gnawing at you?

Paul [2:39]: Well, I mean, I definitely had a little bit more time. I own my own business. But, you know, the COVID has definitely affected all those things. And so I probably had a little bit more time on my hands. Also, I have two kids, two little girls, a nine-year-old, 11-year-old, and they're home from school. And so I'm, it's almost like summertime year round. So I'm having to deal with, you know, those sound issues that I have on a regular basis. And, you know, it's been very difficult.

Adeel [3:10]: Yeah, there's no, it's hard to get alone time. I mean, yeah, I feel you there. yeah yeah do you have do you have a family or yeah i've got a nine-year-old and a nine month year old basically so wow a bit of a range there yeah definitely well congratulations that's amazing yeah thanks yeah pandemic baby there so uh that's right it's one way to keep your mind off but triggers though is to have a little bit extra commotion around exactly Yeah. So, okay. So yeah, no, I feel you there. And I think a lot of, a lot of listeners probably, probably feel that there, that there's, it's harder to kind of just get away. Yeah. It starts to feel maybe a little bit claustrophobic.

Paul [3:50]: Yeah, exactly. And I think for me, it's, it was one of those things where, I mean, my having kids has definitely exacerbated my misophonia and my, my sound sensitivity. And you know, I've always, kind of, even as a kid, I kind of wore earplugs at night to bed. And, um, uh, definitely when I got into college and when I was rooming with other people and stuff like that. But, uh, uh, once I had kids, um, you know, I started wearing earplugs like constantly, um, because I couldn't handle, uh, you know, just, you know, typical kids sound, baby sounds, crying and, you know, even, uh, you know, screaming with glee or, you know, like especially girls do. And so, and I think as a result of that, and I haven't spoken to, you know, any physicians about this or anything, but as a result of the last 10 years of just, you know, I have earplugs in every, anything that's got a pocket, every pants, every, you know, you know what I mean? So every backpack, whatever it is, you'll find a pair of yellow foam earplugs there. And I think that it's really created a an extra sound sensitivity that I have because I can't, you know, even things that aren't triggers for me, per se, where I don't get fight or flight and where I don't get my mind's anger. I just get angry. And but even it's not a trigger. It just it just hurts. And so I've wondered, have you heard of anything like that where people, you know, might might, you know,

Adeel [5:34]: cope a little too much and then they get extra sound sensitivity i've i've definitely heard the uh the anxiety that yeah being too dependent on on earplugs or whatever can um basically not not kind of help but make make you feel more exposed or more vulnerable when you don't have them there but yeah i haven't i haven't heard it put it that way where it's um it hurts more like you're more sensitive to it after but um that that doesn't make sense i mean you you you're once you become so used to not feeling the high amplitudes uh yeah when it does hit it's gotta be more of a shock yeah it is and it's just i mean it can be just in uh people's voices you know or uh you know i'm that guy that when you know the siren goes by you know for the

Paul [6:24]: fire truck or police or whatever it's as much as i don't want to be that guy because i think a lot of this ties into my pride as a man or whatever it is but i'm the guy that's like covering my ears you know i see myself in the mirror like what dude who are you you know

Adeel [6:44]: Right, right. So do you feel you have, do you know if there might be some hyperacusis also involved? I don't know.

Paul [6:52]: I mean, I don't even know.

Adeel [6:52]: What is that? So hyperacusis is generally just extrasensitive to all sounds. So everything seems a little bit turned up. Like you can hear stuff across the room, maybe across the yard kind of thing.

Paul [7:06]: Oh, yeah. I can hear things. That's an interesting question because I did go to an audiologist maybe. I don't know, five or six or seven years ago because my wife kept saying that I didn't hear her, you know, or whatever. And I'm like, I don't have a hearing problem. You know, maybe I turn you off sometimes and I'm sorry if I do. But because I went to the audiologist and they're like, no, you've got your hearing's great. And I'm like, OK, cool. But it's like I can hear I can hear things everywhere and I'm constantly aware of it. But, you know, when it comes to triggers, you know, I can hear somebody you know, I don't know, across the room, if they're even just chewing gum or, you know, eating, well, chips is magnified, but even just, even the slightest person who just slightly has their mouth open when they chew, it's just, I hear that. And I look around at other people in the room and I'm like, don't you hear that? And they just look at me like I'm nuts.

Adeel [8:09]: Yeah. Yeah. Oh no. We know, we know that. Yeah. Um, do you, do you usually then have to have like background music or background noise or, or is earplugs kind of your, your way?

Paul [8:19]: Well, that's the thing. It's like, you know, as a family, you know, we like to have a movie night, you know, and eat some pizza and, and that kind of thing. And I can't, the other day I took it, what I would consider took it to an extreme. I, um, I wanted to watch the movie with everybody, but, um, uh you know there there was the eating and then i also have a which we can talk about how that affects me but i also have a daughter with special needs and um she's she's constantly uh jabbering or or you know tantruming or something like that so it's it's it's excessively loud sometimes so the other night we were watching a movie and um i uh i started it on it was through a streaming service and then I went and got my phone and put my headphones on and started the movie at the exact same time and so I'm watching the movie with everybody in front of the television but I'm hearing the audio from my phone that's also streaming the movie so that I can actually hear the dialogue and enjoy watching the movie with them but not have to deal with

Adeel [9:35]: all the extra noise or the things that are triggering me uh at the same time yeah that's a clever technique uh i usually i usually put yeah earbuds on but i have like you know some music or some noise in the background but in low enough that i can hear the movie but But yeah, thinking of the dialogue, that's kind of interesting. It's similar to what I think every theater you can basically get a headset which plays the audio.

Paul [10:00]: Oh, you can?

Adeel [10:01]: Yeah, yeah. You might want to try that. I tried that once and I was like, it didn't quite work for me for some reason, but it might work for you. It's more for the hearing impaired, like people who can't.

Paul [10:11]: right um hear just uh what's coming out of the speakers so that's interesting did that work did you also have noise cancelling turned on that the headphones yeah yeah i have so i have yeah i have some noise cancelling headphones that i've had for years and i'm always upgrading because i'm looking for the next you know greatest thing yeah exactly man but um and actually Part of that was because of the fact that I just get tired of wearing the earplugs sometimes. I get tired of not being able to hear people and having to keep asking, what's that? Or having to read their lips if they're not looking at me. So that becomes a problem. So I just get so frustrated because I love movies and I love shows and stuff. And to not be able to hear the sound because I have earplugs in. And then I'll be like, guys, can we turn on the, you know, the closed captioning so I can read it, you know, because I can't really hear it. And it's like, I feel like I'm, you know, 95 years old and I have a hearing problem, but I don't. It's just I can't cancel out the other sounds.

Adeel [11:22]: Right. Yeah, that is the dilemma, the movie night dilemma that we have.

Paul [11:28]: Am I on the right podcast?

Adeel [11:30]: You are on the exact right podcast. You're not on the... You don't need to be on the AARP podcast. You're on the right podcast. Yeah. Many of us... I have movie nights too. And I sometimes got to reach for the AirPods or whatever it is.

Paul [11:45]: Yeah.

Adeel [11:46]: Do you also get visual triggers? That's the other thing if you're doing movie nights. Your peripheral vision can be... Play tricks on you.

Paul [11:54]: Dude, it drives me nuts. It drives me crazy. You know, there are people like my wife can... watch a movie and also be on her phone. Right. Um, but if, if she's sitting in, in front of me, like, you know, so we have the couch and then there, maybe there's some chairs on the side, you know, and, and kind of like shaped into you, if people are sitting in front of me and there's either motion or they're, you know, there's like the light from the phone or switching between apps and, you know, that kind of stuff, especially if it's dark, you know, I just get so, so annoyed, you know, and irritable. and so it's a definitely there's lots of visual stuff for me i'll have to sometimes sit the closest to the television so everyone is behind me And so I don't get distracted. So do you deal with any of that? Do you do that?

Adeel [12:44]: This is hilarious. Dude, we're renovating our family room. And I'm literally trying to lay out the... I'm trying to lay out the... I'm telling my wife, like, okay, the furniture, we can have a big couch, but I need a chair in front of everybody else for movies. Literally, I'm having that conversation.

Paul [13:02]: And what does she say to you? I mean, obviously, she has accepted you. You guys are still married and you have a nine-month-old. But it's like, how does that work for you guys?

Adeel [13:12]: Well, I think I haven't done this. The seating arrangement is just starting to come up in the conversation. So I haven't mentioned that it's miso related, but I'm sure if I do, it'll just be like, okay, yeah, understood. Understood. And I'll say, oh, I'll get a nice Eames chair. And they'll be like, oh, okay. Okay, that's going to be a nice one. So, yeah, no, that's, yeah. And that comes up a lot. I mean, it comes up in people who are in college and they're like, well, should I sit at the front or the back? I'm going to get, you know, at the back, I can run away. But at the front, at least I can hear, but I don't have to be triggered. Yeah. Seating arrangements are complicated. That is very... That's why I wonder, like, because in the winter, what I would do in the winter is I'd be on one end of the couch and I'd have like blankets all over me and arrange the blanket folds so that, you know, I basically have a tunnel view to the.

Paul [14:07]: Yes, I've done that with my baseball cap. I, you know, I'll, you know, do this. Sometimes I'll even cut my hands around the baseball cap. So it's like those blinders that horse horses wear.

Adeel [14:18]: Oh, I look terrible in baseball caps, but I think I'm going to give it a second chance now.

Paul [14:24]: It helps sometimes because you've got that extra thing. But that's for me anywhere. You know, if I'm trying to work in front of my computer or, you know, and there's visual distractions around me, I have to kind of tunnel it. Right, right.

Adeel [14:37]: So what do you do? By the way, whereabouts are you located?

Paul [14:40]: Yeah, so I live in Los Angeles.

Adeel [14:43]: Okay, oh, nice.

Paul [14:45]: So I was born and raised in Indiana, in the Midwest, and then came out here to go to university and, you know, never went back just because, well, I don't like the cold and the gray, so.

Adeel [14:58]: Yeah, I know. I'm like, I was telling somebody, I was like, in my lifetime, I've actually turned down two job offers in LA, LA area. Really? And I'm like, oh man, I'm sitting in the Minnesota winter here and being like, that's right but you according to what i've seen some other you were in san francisco for a while though yeah yeah yeah yeah for a while yeah 16 years so um yeah but yeah just came here for your family and i'm also a dual citizen so it's good to be at the canadian border again Are you on the computer? I work from home and I'm a software developer, so I have that in my office, got all my screens around me and it's relatively quiet. Are you in a similar situation? Do you work from home?

Paul [15:45]: I am, yeah. I've always worked from home and I've always owned my own businesses over the years.

Adeel [15:56]: isolating at one you know on one end you know but at the same time it's i can control my environment um which is i'm starting to value that latter part more and more yeah i think i've had my you know i've had my share of like all that you know in office happy hours and stuff early on in my life and all that networking but i feel like now i'm kind of optimizing for control yeah i think a lot of people are uh especially because you know pandemic and everything

Paul [16:24]: and and but it's but at the same time it's yeah i never really had that whole office environment uh thing so i've never you know i've over the years i've done you know like you know done co-share was it co-sharing or is it when you're running a space co-working sorry co-working and um you know it's it's nice from a social standpoint but at the same time I found that it was no different than I still had a cubicle or I still had an office and it was like, I'm still alone, you know? And so there wasn't that social aspect that's as much, you know, it was like, okay, why am I paying for this when I can do the same thing from home? And so that's, that's what I've done over the years, but it is definitely a, uh, um, it's definitely a control thing for me and being able to, you know, control the environment and control, you know, all the input that's coming towards me. And so, but I do spend a lot of time in front of the computer, you know, with my headphones on.

Adeel [17:25]: Yeah. Right. And, and then, yeah, then you can kind of control where like, if you, if you do get irritated somehow, you can just take a break. Yeah. It's not like you're, you know, being looked at or being judged or whatever.

Paul [17:40]: no exactly you know sometimes i just need you know for me physical exercise is huge um you know and so i throughout the years you know i'm always uh you know i'll go on a walk or i'll go to the gym or you know not obviously not this last year but you know and which which that's been huge for me not being able to go to the gym

Adeel [18:01]: And to work it out, get that stress out. Yeah.

Paul [18:05]: Yeah. That's definitely been a big factor for me and I'm sure many people. But at the same time, that's always been been kind of my go to. And then, you know, television and movies for me has always kind of been my drug of choice in that sense, to be able to just zone out and not have to deal with kind of, you know, stresses and stuff like that.

Adeel [18:27]: Do you get triggered much from, like, certain shows and movies? Like, you know, there's sometimes a microphone.

Paul [18:35]: That's an interesting question. I'll tell you this. I mean, and this is probably for anybody with misophonia, but... Man, anybody in any scene or commercial, if they're crunching or chewing and that's part of the audio, I immediately have to rip off my headphones or jump up or whatever the case is. You know, the way certain films, you know, I've had some experience in the film and television industry and the way they do sound design for some some projects. I just yeah, I just wouldn't be able to do it. I just know I wouldn't be able to watch it.

Adeel [19:13]: You probably can just drive down to the studio and have a piece of your mind.

Paul [19:17]: Right. Come on, guys. I'll go to Disney. Just barge in. Come on, Mickey. You don't have to flirt like that.

Adeel [19:29]: You barge in with us movie streaming on your phone. Yeah, exactly. interesting yeah um yeah that's that does yeah that does come up with some shows but uh but yeah that's the thing is it for you is there anything for you in there yeah i mean it's um i guess yeah i mean i guess i don't i don't watch a lot of stuff that has a lot of eating or slurping but and it's usually usually i mean just like in life usually scenes end after you know a reasonable amount of time and so it's not like a constant soundtrack you know There's certain YouTube videos where that's the whole purpose, but we stay away from those.

Paul [20:09]: Right, yeah.

Adeel [20:11]: So going back to your family, I'm curious, have you broached the subject with your kids? They're kind of around that age when a lot of people start to exhibit signs. I'm curious if... And a lot of us have this debate as to how much should we tell them? Is that going to make them misophone? We don't want that. Have you thought about that?

Paul [20:34]: Yeah, I have. I've thought a lot about it. And Um, you know, my, my older daughter, um, who has special needs, she's not in a place, uh, cognitively where she would really understand all that. And so, um, but my, my younger daughter, uh, who's nine now, I have definitely, you know, actually I had kind of a breakthrough in the sense of, I guess, you know, I've, I've always felt when it comes to misophonia, I've always felt a huge amount of guilt. Um, even when I didn't have a name for it, I always, You know, I'm sorry. Daddy, listen, it's not you, honey. I can't handle these. These sounds are too loud for me. And I'm constantly asking them to be quiet and sometimes very forcefully because I'm so irritated and can't control that irritation and trying to let... you know, a three or four or five-year-old know that it's not them, you know, that kind of has always broken my heart. And I felt very guilty about that. But there's, there's a podcast. My, my younger daughter listens to a ton of podcasts for kids. And maybe you already know this, but there's one called wow in the world. And, and it's all about, you know, kind of science and, and they, they, they talk, there's two different characters and they talk about, you know, just, you know, history or science or what's happening and really current events. And and they came out with one in I think it was October, November of 2020 about misophonia.

Adeel [22:12]: Whoa.

Paul [22:12]: And and so I I found it because I was looking through some of the episodes. My daughter and I was just kind of curious, you know, what what she's listening to and what they're talking about. And I came across one and the whole episode. was about misophonia and basically explaining it through these two characters and the story for kids. And I was dumbfounded. I just said, oh, hey, honey, there's a new Wild in the World episode. Would you like to listen to it? It talks all about Daddy's sound thing. And she gobbled it up. And I was... It was kind of... i don't know a watershed moment for me it was a breakthrough moment for me personally because i i she was able to listen to something about about i don't know it it validated me in a sense for my for my nine-year-old daughter and i think that's one of the hardest things for me is being able to you know because i feel guilty about this stuff and i i look at my wife sometimes and i'm like know what honey we've been married almost 20 years but geez you might have been better with somebody else i know i'm hard to deal with you know and and and then to be able to to go to my kid and be like okay they're going to be able to explain it in a way that i can't and she actually likes these characters and she's been learning from them for the last few years because she's been listening to it and it just validated for me what i have through my nine-year-old daughter's eyes and that was that was a big moment for me and so wow that's amazing what did she say to you The interesting part is, you know, as a parent, right, as an adult, you're like, so let's talk about it. You know, what did you think? You know, what about this part when they were chewing and they were saying about this or what about that? You know, and and she she talked about it a little bit, but it was it's not like it's not like this is new to her. Right. It's not like new that dad has. Dad tells me to close my mouth every time I eat, you know, you know, but. what what so so it wasn't like you know we had this huge conversation we talked about it a little bit and she's like yeah oh that that sound bothers me sometimes and i was like oh that's interesting um you know without without

Adeel [24:37]: labeling or naming or any of that kind of stuff right but then it was just kind of like oh i'm gonna listen to the next episode i'll talk okay you know yeah no that's exactly the way it should be right yeah yeah that's what i was looking for okay if that if that's kind of how it went and just yeah it's normalized and validated at least you you feel good that at least she understands it's a real thing in the world um yeah that's my biggest thing which is i didn't want to be like

Paul [25:03]: That's just that's just dad. And, you know, I might as well start putting money in the therapy jar now because, you know, she's going to need it because, you know, when she's 25, dad kept telling her that, you know, she had.

Adeel [25:16]: kept chewing too loud and dad was always irritated with her and it's like okay well now she can process it as now she can start to process it as something just normal and something real yeah something real maybe as opposed to normal but yeah I mean it's normal no you're totally right normal makes sense Yeah. Oh, that's, that's cool. I just, I just, uh, I messaged, uh, that, uh, that podcast, my daughter.

Paul [25:45]: Oh, awesome.

Adeel [25:45]: Yeah. She's totally into the science stuff. Um, we'll see. We'll see when she gets to the miso one. Um, very cool. Okay. Um, yeah, that's, that's, that's interesting. So I guess you, so you just down yet. Maybe we can go rewind all the way back to kind of like early days for you that when you were a kid, like, uh, how did, uh, Obviously, you don't know what it was. You just found out it had a name. When did you first start to notice it?

Paul [26:10]: Well, it's hard for me when it comes to remembering all that kind of stuff when I was a kid. I don't even remember last week, let alone when I was five years old. But I do know this. I do know that I remember my mom always harping on me about chewing with my mouth open and stuff like that. So I... You know, as I thought about it over years, I wonder, oh, wow, that was a big deal for her. And then I remember my dad, my parents were divorced. And so I would go visit my father every other weekend. And I just remember and even to this day, and I've talked to him about it now, but even to this day, the way he chews and, you know, the way he eats, it's just, you know, for me, it was like, you know, standing next to that cow that's chewing the cud you know and and it's just it's just like i and i remember sometimes you know reacting like dad why do you why do you have to chew like that and you know and mimicking the sound and you know and that kind of stuff and and just because it was there was so much in me i had to get it out and you know from listening to your podcast and doing some other research it seems like that that's kind of one of the things that happens sometimes is that you just kind of have to You know, mimic it or get it out. And so I remember my father, you know, definitely with the chewing things, you know, but but but more than that, I don't I don't remember, you know, a ton more than that, except for, you know, once I once I got into college, you know, definitely having to wear my earplugs more. Um, but, uh, I, I definitely have to say that, you know, as I've gotten older, you know, um, it's definitely gotten worse. I mean, it was about six months ago. Um, uh, maybe it's been more than that. Maybe a year ago, my, my wife, uh, was brushing your teeth before bed. And all of a sudden I had to run out of the room and I'm like, what's the problem here? And it's like, I can't handle the sound of people brushing their teeth. And it's like, what? When did that happen? You know, because it's like, that's never been a problem for me before, but just that air sound or with the brush going or something, it's just like every night when she does that, I mean, I can't walk in there and be like, can you do me a favor? Can you wrap your lips around the toothbrush so that there's no sound that comes out? You know, it's like, no, I mean, I just feel like this is my, and I think that's maybe one of my issues though, but I feel like this is my problem. And I'm not the type of person, you know, I've heard other people on your podcast that will just go up to people and tell them something. It's like it's not that I don't have a problem doing that. I, you know, I can be forceful. I don't mind conflict. But there's a part of me that's like, you know what, dude, this is your problem. So don't make it somebody else's problem. Do everything you can first. You know what I mean?

Adeel [29:15]: Oh, I think most people fall into this camp.

Paul [29:17]: Yeah.

Adeel [29:18]: Okay. We kind of bottle it up and we don't want to. Yeah, we consider it more our problem as opposed to lashing out. So I think that, yeah, I think that's totally common.

Paul [29:30]: Okay. Well, and that's the thing. It's like, but there's so much when you bottle that up and you hold that in, you know, that's just, it's not been healthy. For me, it's not been healthy.

Adeel [29:43]: Especially when you can't leave the house.

Paul [29:46]: Yeah. So anyways, as I'm getting older, I'm finding that there are definitely new things that are coming along. But to try to answer your question as a kid, I don't remember that as much. And so as I've listened to some of the people that you've spoken to, and some of these people are young, and they're really dealing with this. at a level that I don't think I dealt with, but now I'm starting to. Is that a common thing where some people develop, not develop it, but just deal with it more later in life, and some people deal with it in their younger years pretty aggressively?

Adeel [30:32]: Yeah, one thing that's probably the most common is that the types of triggers expand as you get older. So that's like, I would say, totally scientific calculation here, but 95% of people, it just keeps expanding. Whether or not, and so earlier, like early on in life, it's kind of mixed as to whether um it leaves the house and starts to affect school or not for some people it does but some people really just don't notice it until they get into college years and beyond is what which seems to kind of match with yours and honestly matches mine okay so for you you really didn't it really didn't hit you until college Yeah, it was like basically, you know, parents from that, you know, I don't know when, like junior high, high school. And then, but yeah, I did fine. I did totally fine in school. And then college started to, I think there were some memories that are probably blocked out. So it's starting to probably... probably get i'm not talking about alcohol no yeah um i think it started to aspect there and then definitely definitely afterwards which is ironic because that's why i i never had a roommate after college probably related to this but um and so um really start to notice it around the 2000s But, uh, yeah, but that's, this seems to be similar to yours, but yeah, it's very common that the number of triggers starts to expand. So like restaurants, hard to go to certain restaurants and, um, yeah, just being in public meals with large extended family and things like that. Um, so, well, what about, um, yeah, go ahead. Now, I was going to say, yeah, I mean, you mentioned a lot of that, you know, the shame and the guilt kind of comes up because it's very confusing as to like, oh, like how much, you know, a lot of people say they're annoyed by Sam's. How much should we be open about what we're doing? It's our problem, but it's affecting other people so much. Has it, do you feel like, well, first of all, it seems like it didn't affect your social life that much probably, right? Growing up outside of the home.

Paul [32:43]: Yeah, not growing up. I mean, not in, you know, junior high, high school, college necessarily. But, you know, as I got into my 20s, you know, even 30s, I mean, I was never one. I was never, even though I can be extroverted and that's not a problem. i tend to like the quieter restaurants and you know i was never into the bar scene or anything like that just you know one had i didn't have money to spend on alcohol when i was in college and two i just i i you know i get overwhelmed in those you know just constant noise um you know i just can't i don't deal with that well so i'm more i'm definitely more of a one-on-one type person not only just uh uh it's easier to control kind of that environment but if we're gonna go my wife and i are gonna go out to dinner um you know i'm you know especially now but even even when we were first married you know it was it was preferring those those more intimate quieter places

Adeel [33:50]: Yeah, right. Yeah, that makes total sense. Ambivert is a word I've heard recently. So you're not quite introverted, but not ambivert, like ambivalent, introvert, extrovert kind of thing.

Paul [34:04]: I like that.

Adeel [34:05]: Okay, so yeah. And so growing up, I know your parents were divorced. Did your misophonia start to maybe cause distance between yourself? or maybe other siblings too?

Paul [34:20]: Yeah, not that I can remember. And, you know, it's definitely a good question because, you know, I think about that, about, I think noise has always kind of been an issue for me, but it hasn't necessarily affected my relationships, I think, with my family. I'm definitely closest to my mom and we would, you know, we talk about, you know, we can talk about everything, but It's not like I would walk up to my brothers and be like, hey, guys, so I've got this sound issue. And I'd really appreciate it if you would be, you know, cognitive of that and and cognizant of that. And they would they would probably just scream in my ear. You know what I mean? You know, and I've got friends like that. I was talking to a buddy the other day on the phone and he's chewing. He's eating dinner while we're while we're talking on the phone. And I'm like. like dude you know you know could you maybe just do one thing at a time here you know and he thinks i'm joking but it's not like i walk around and wear a badge and i tell people about this you know it's funny i i looked at your merch i don't know probably last night on on my phone i was like yeah i don't know if i'm gonna be wearing around uh you know a misophonia hat i think i need to switch that up yeah you know but that's the thing it's like i don't i've maybe told a few people you know and and and i you know like a lot of other people who who have told somebody you know that person will be like oh yeah i don't like that sound either or whatever it is and and and then you have to make that decision do you explain to them well no actually if you make that sound in my mind i want to pick you up and throw you through that that window over there you you don't have you don't have an understanding is that is that the way you feel when when you want to do it because it's literally not just my it's like my whole body wants to do that you know and and so it's it's and but i i rarely go into those you know into that deeper conversation because uh

Adeel [36:28]: i just don't what's the point uh well that's yeah that's something that's come up this is like uh so many people just kind of consider a joke or they try to uh make it relative to something else that they have or it gets exhausting it's just like oh like it's like you usually have to kind of keep explaining it what is obvious to us and that just can be kind of exhausting i mean it's good to talk about it but it's just You kind of have to calculate what is the return on investment of telling this person if I'm not going to see them that often.

Paul [36:59]: Man, you're completely right. You're completely right. And it's like, unless this is directly affecting our relationship, or if there's even a relationship here, do we even need to go down this road? It's like I've got friends that I don't ever need to tell about this because I see them every once in a while or it's a controlled environment and I can deal with all of that. If I did tell them, they'd be just like, that's just that guy being weird. He's eccentric. Versus a real deal because even I struggle with that and I think about that too with other things. Maybe a friend says that they're dealing with something and And if I don't deal with that, you know, and this is coming from a person who deals with misophonia and gets looks from other people sometimes when I react a certain way to a sound, you know, I'll be honest, I react the same way when something is brought to my attention that I don't understand. And so I completely get that.

Adeel [38:10]: So yeah, that's interesting. So you, I mean, I'm maybe making an assumption here, but you probably have to, you know, you have a child with special needs. Do you kind of get that reaction from other people? Like, or like, you know, you want to, you obviously understand your daughter and you want the best for her and everything and have to, you know, sometimes have to explain that to other people. It's, and...

Paul [38:34]: some people probably just kind of shrug it off maybe or they don't maybe react the way that you that you would or expect to that's a great point no it's very true because you know my daughter is uh if you if you're just in passing you know she's she she looks like a uh you know neurotypical child and and so you just might see her know playing with her fingers or or just jumping around and singing a song and they'll be like oh she's so happy you know or something like that and and yeah if you're engaging with people there are always there always comes that moment where um they ask you know certain questions that you can no longer skirt around where you're having uh you know oh does she uh you know if it becomes like maybe something academic you know or or whatever it is she's 11 years old but she's more like a four-year-old right and so if there's oh cool what sports is she involved in or you know it's just people being people and trying to get to know people but you know it's like how far do you take this and i think it's this it could be the same thing you know with misophonia in the sense of you know how oh cool you know i saw you uh you know left a movie theater you uh you know or whatever oh yeah i didn't make it all the way through the movie well i didn't make it all the way through the movie because i forgot my earplugs right but do i need to tell them that oh no i got a call and i just had to do whatever you know yeah is that what you've done before where it's you've you've uh it's somebody that you've actually you know um are close enough that you went to a movie but then you kind of lie about having left no i'm just talking more about a situation where um if it's somebody that you're just kind of not friends with, but you know, it's one of those, it's like where, exactly how far, you know, and it's like, I was just explaining that also with my daughter, it's like, you know, this is a passing conversation or something like that. Do I need to get into the weeds of, of that whole thing? Or do we just, you know, no, but I, I do definitely when I'm in a movie, I definitely have to have my earplugs. And if I forget them, Um, you know, if they're not there, which is rare, I, I, you know, it just might be too, it might be too loud for me. And, um, I might have to leave.

Adeel [40:54]: Do you, uh, speaking of earplugs, I haven't, you know, done them regularly because I just always assume that it'll deaden the sound, well, reduce the sound a little bit, but not enough. Um, are there certain brands that you swear by or certain things you look for?

Paul [41:09]: yeah i buy um and i would have to you know email it to you but i i was i don't i don't know exactly what it is but there's a specific one that is the um you know they're foam but it there's there's one that's uh has a certain rating i think it's like an nr rating or something like that and it's it's the highest rating that i can find and i buy them in boxes like every couple of you i know it's crazy Every couple of years, I know it's crazy not to.

Adeel [41:39]: That's amazing.

Paul [41:40]: It's like I work at a factory, you know, it's because every couple of years I buy two huge boxes of these things, you know, where I have like a thousand. And, you know, and I also try to, you know, wear them you know if I'm going to wear them at night I'll wear them two nights in a row so I can extend it so I've got way too many of these yellow things all around everywhere oh so they're typically single use yeah well they would typically be a single use that you would you know that you would find in a machine shop or something that you wear them for the day and then you discard them you know but I just kind of keep them until they get dirty and I'm like yeah that's too dirty I don't want to put that in my ear

Adeel [42:22]: Gotcha, yeah. Yeah, I guess maybe if they get flattened out too much or whatever, it probably loses effectiveness. Yeah, I would think so.

Paul [42:30]: And then there are moments, though, you know, that I will, you know, if it's way too loud and I'm feeling extremely anxious, you know, I will put my earplugs in and then I'll put my noise canceling in and then I'll turn whatever music it is up to the highest level it'll go.

Adeel [42:46]: Right. Yep. Gotcha. Okay. Interesting.

Paul [42:50]: How is it for you with your having a baby? Does that really exacerbate things for you?

Adeel [42:57]: You know... i i'm not triggered so much by kids got it at least at least my own and i'm wondering and i've noticed that well i know i mean i've talked to some people who are uh if you look listen to the the gil podcast um who works out a ton and has a was basically being triggered by his kid a lot as well extremely uh it might be good episode to listen to but um yeah i yes so some people have some i myself have not been i mean there's been a couple little times but uh but yeah no not so much and i'm wondering if that's more of a that um you know your brain um not seeing the threat so much because it's you know your own child right um and somehow calculating that okay this is okay versus you know any of the other usual triggers in life um are somehow a danger to you according to your brain so yeah so i'm personally yeah i'm not i'm not so much at this point well good for your children Yeah. So far, knock on wood. Mine are screwed, but good for yours. I might be like you or brushing teeth one day. We'll just switch it on. Who knows?

Paul [44:15]: Oh, man. When I found that out, man, I was just like, I just wanted to apologize to my wife right then and there. I'd be like, are you sure? It's still not too late. You could find somebody else.

Adeel [44:29]: Right, right. Yeah, that's interesting. And I guess, okay, so you got earplugs. Yeah, I got to try these out. Maybe I'll get a box. So you got the usual headphones and all that stuff. And then for visual triggers, your kind of coping mechanisms are like the baseball cap really pulled down.

Paul [44:51]: Yeah. Yep. The baseball cap. And I'll do that. Uh, I'll do that everywhere. Um, and sometimes it's like, you know, you have that baseball cap pulled down so far that you can't see anything except for what's directly in front of you, you know, or oftentimes, you know, I'll face the wall. Um, I'll face away from people. Um, you know, you're right. That whole deal. So I do that. And, and then when it comes to, um, uh, I think that's usually the main one when it comes to visual stuff. And like I said earlier, just being able to sit in front of everyone, everybody else so that I don't know what they're doing and, you know, I don't have to experience it.

Adeel [45:33]: Right, right, right. Yeah, that's key. And have you, so how did you, so you just found out about it about a year ago and you don't know anybody else who has been. So how did you find out about the podcast actually?

Paul [45:47]: Yeah, I just started. Yeah, I researched it. I went to my I love podcasts, you know, to multiple ones every week. And then I just typed in misophonia and there aren't that many out there, you know, at least the not the regularity and the level that you do it. And and, you know, I'm sure everybody tells you this that you talk to, but. Thanks a lot for doing this, man. I mean, it has helped me and I'm sure it's helping a ton of people. So thank you.

Adeel [46:17]: Appreciate that. Yeah. No, of course. You're welcome. It helps me too, just to talk to everybody. Yeah. You and I seem to have some similarities. And actually, I just recently spoke to somebody from LA, actually a screenwriter in LA. Actually, not for the podcast yet. He just reached out to also say thank you. But there might be a post-COVID meetup in the... Oh, that would be amazing. Well, that's actually...

Paul [46:42]: i've done a lot of things over the years i do a lot of things but you know so i've i like i think i mentioned earlier i've been a part of the film and television industry as a writer and an actor over the years and i was an acting coach for many years and um yeah so it's stuff that i've i've always you know i have both sides of the brain i've got that creative side and i also have the very logical analytical side of the brain so which allows me to do business and stuff but i think that And it's probably part of a little bit of my ADD that needs to do a lot of different things all the time because I can't handle it if I'm doing the same thing every day. So if I'm engaged creatively, even if it's a business problem that I have to solve, it's something that I really enjoy. But I do, as I've heard other people's stories from your podcast or other things that I've read, I do wonder, though, how my misophonia has shaped me. And as I try to look backwards at the things that I've done in my life and all the different varied things, I'm wondering how much of this is just my body chemistry and my makeup that has kind of led me to do the things that I've done. And I think that's always very interesting to think about.

Adeel [47:57]: Yeah, it is interesting. I mean, you could think about it as on what's come up sometimes. It's kind of thinking about it in terms of has made me more introverted. But also, yeah, I mean, the ADD aspect is not, whether it's diagnosed or not, is not uncommon. I'm similar. I have a day job, but I also have tons of startup side projects I'm trying to do. I've also created music, taking piano lessons.

Paul [48:23]: my wife is involved in, uh, we're, we're very much a musical family. I was in music growing up and, and my wife, uh, is a singer, uh, professionally, you know, she does like, uh, um, uh, like three person harmonies and, and, you know, studio work and that kind of stuff. And she, uh, we do a ton of musicals in the house, just, you know, uh, you know, just redoing stuff, you know, Wizard of Oz. And we did, we did over the summer and stuff, just making our own little videos and stuff. But when it comes to it, like, Music is such a huge part of my life, and I don't know if that's because of misophonia, but it allows me to be transported away from the current sounds that I'm dealing with.

Adeel [49:07]: You nailed it there in terms of music transporting you, because when I was being triggered by my parents, whether it was at home or on road trips... Whether I had the music headphones in my ears or my, either that or my brain was, I had a song stuck in my head. I mean, everyone says they have songs stuck in their head, but I think I would be completely absorbed by the songs because I was trying to get distracted by the triggers around me. And so I think that's definitely affected me in becoming obsessed with music. That's great, man. That's definitely shaped me.

Paul [49:44]: Well, it's interesting. My my daughter, my older daughter, who has special needs, she music. We constantly have music on in our home and she can like memorize. She'll hear a song once and just be like this little computer. And you see her processing it. And then she knows everything about it. She knows the melody and the, you know, the harmony. And she could you know, we could take her to Vegas and play name that tune and win big. and she uh you know and so i see her processing all that kind of stuff but then and so that's that's really been a great thing for our family because we are a musical family but at the same time i see how uh you know sensory how how many sensory things she has when it comes to sound like like uh i wear earplugs when i put the dishes away uh because the clinking and the clanking really bothers me but she She can't handle it at all, as in, you know, it becomes a tear thing where she has to cry because it hurts her ears. And so, you know, we can't put the dishes away until after she goes to bed at night. you know because it's such such a big deal for her but it's so crazy because you know she's she's adopted um and so we you know we're not the same we don't have the same dna and yet sometimes um i recognize some of the things that she deals with when it comes to sound and being overwhelmed from a sensory level, I recognize, I see those things in myself. And I'm like, oh my gosh, you know, we don't have the same blood kid, but, you know, we share some of these other things that are, which, you know, you would think hopefully, you know, sometimes I have, so I have more empathy and compassion for her, but yet other times I get so triggered that, you know, like I said, I just have to walk out.

Adeel [51:36]: Yeah, yeah. That's interesting. This might be an interesting research point, data point for researchers listening, where you are not a blood relative of the child, but living in that same environment, there might be some, I don't know, cross-pollination of sound sensitivities or something.

Paul [51:55]: Yeah.

Adeel [51:55]: Kind of interesting.

Paul [51:56]: And I'm curious about this. If we have to end, that's fine. And I'm sure if you want to include this in the podcast, that's fine. I take medication. I take medication for ADD and I take some medication for depression. And even earlier in maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I talked to psychiatrists and they said, well, you might have a little bit of some OCD here, which actually I haven't dealt with in the last 10 years. But I'm kind of curious, from all the people that you talk to and conventions, I guess, that you're a part of or whatever, how much of that correlates with misophonia?

Adeel [52:40]: I have, I mean, I've talked to some people who've definitely said that they are, um, um, yeah, you know, have been diagnosed with OCD. Uh, and there are the Baylor, the Baylor, um, college of medicine, Dr. Eric Storch was on, he's doing a, um, a research study on misophonia and his expertise is, is OCD. And, uh, I don't think I'm gonna have some people from Duke on. So I don't know if there, I don't know if there is a, um,

Paul [53:07]: hard link but there's definitely seems to be some overlap yeah interesting and i wonder if people deal with depression as a result of misophonia rather than you know in conjunction with you know the isolation that sometimes people deal with and stuff like that right Interesting.

Adeel [53:27]: Interesting. Not qualified to give a final answer on that. No, it's fine. Anecdotally, there seems to be some overlap. Not sure what the cause and effect there is for that.

Paul [53:40]: Yeah, that's interesting. Well, that's very cool, man, about... So, you know, I looked you up on LinkedIn and I saw some of the other, you know, like the startup I think that you have or whatever. I forget what it's called. Screen something.

Adeel [53:53]: Shop. Yeah. Shop. Yeah. It was right. There was. Yeah. Basically kind of an inventory management across different e-commerce platforms.

Paul [54:03]: Yeah.

Adeel [54:05]: That looked really cool. Yeah, it was good for a little while. But yeah, I've got some other stuff. That's great, man. I'm always hacking on something, trying to make use of my post-bedtime hours these days when everyone's at home.

Paul [54:21]: And you do these once a week? Yeah. How does it work for you? You just do one interview a week and then you do it in a garage band or something and you post it or what?

Adeel [54:32]: I, yeah, basically, well, I record in Zoom. Zoom gives me two tracks, one for each person. And since I don't really have time to like necessarily like interview somebody and edit and everything. So I usually just batch everything up in like a one month and then roll them out over the kind of the next five months or so. And then I'll do another batch. And so that's kind of, it's kind of worked out. So, yeah, we're kind of in the middle of the one recording of season five or season four month of season five month of season four right here. So, yeah, it's been really fascinating stuff this this this season. So now I'm getting more and more getting more and more like the kind of the leading researchers in the field wanting to come on. So we'll do some interesting stuff coming up there.

Paul [55:20]: That's very cool. I love the podcast format. I actually, in 20, I think it was either 2018 or 2019, I did a series of about eight or nine episodes of a, I called it the Life Lessons Project. And I did it where I spoke directly to my kids. And I interviewed people and took a lesson that they've learned in life. And then, you know, in an interview format and I would mix in music. And then at the end, I would take, you know, two or three or four or five minutes and then speak directly to my children and say, hey, so, you know, you may not be dealing with this now at seven years old, but you might deal with this at 25. And, you know, and that kind of thing. And I really enjoyed the process of not only getting to talk to people. But being able to, you know, edit it down the road and say, okay, yeah, I got to take this out and that kind of stuff. It's just a creation process. There's a lot of fun. So good for you.

Adeel [56:16]: Yeah, no, it's been good. And like I said, like I have that audio background. So I know, you know, I rolled it into Logic Pro. Like it's not just GarageBand. It's like Logic Pro. And I have all these plugins. Actually, I was actually taking out like mouth sounds by hand. But now I've got like... um all these audio plugins to help out with that awesome um hopefully cut some time down for me but uh yeah but yeah it's been it's it's been fun and then the reaction directions are building up like the momentum is building so more and more people are responding with emails even if they don't come on the podcast so it's it's been good this is gonna this is gonna help a lot of people too i think a lot of people are kind of in your situation i'm sure um

Paul [56:59]: yeah it's you know it's been very helpful for me and and do you think it'll ever become uh like a source of income for you where you might be able to to you know bounce it off something else or obviously right now it's all altruistic

Adeel [57:13]: yeah i don't think so i i i think um i think the only the only ways uh the only ways i'm thinking about uh monetizing it is um i built a custom uh podcast not a hosting website but a website to kind of display your podcast so i'm thinking of rolling that out into a platform Cool, man. Well, uh, yeah, I got a, I got a motor getting pinged on Slack from my day job, but I do want to let you, um, um, share if there's anything else you want to, you want to tell people, um, you know, feel free, um, before we kind of wind down.

Paul [57:52]: Well, I think for me, um, I don't know. I, I, I walked through this a lot alone. Um, and like I said, I just deal with my own, um, guilt about it and that kind of stuff. But I, I think that, uh, you know, as probably others have said, the more, and I'm speaking to myself here too, which is the more that we can, we can connect with others and, uh, you know, normalize this, uh, the better we're going to do, we're going to be with our, with ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. And I think that's, that's one of the biggest things is being able to normalize it so that, So we don't have to carry around a lot of guilt or shame or whatever it is because it's a real thing. And that was pretty good for me to know.

Adeel [58:45]: Yeah, that's well said. And yeah, I totally obviously agree that we need to normalize it. We need to find other people who have it and at least talk about it amongst ourselves. Yeah, Paul, I want to thank you for coming on. This is another epic conversation. It's been great. And yeah, I'll let you know next time I roll through Los Angeles. Definitely miss the West Coast once in a while since leaving.

Paul [59:12]: I bet. Well, thank you so much for this. I really appreciate it. It was great meeting you.

Adeel [59:16]: Thank you, Paul. Great meeting you as well. If you liked this episode, please leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to the podcast. Music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.