Lisa Loeb - Lisa Loeb's Dual Experience with Sound

S6 E19 - 1/5/2023
In this episode, Adeel discusses misophonia with Grammy Award-winning artist Lisa Loeb. Lisa shares her personal journey with misophonia, describing her initial unawareness of the condition until a decade ago which she suspects coincided with recognizing it in her children. She recalls childhood experiences of intense irritation from the sound of her mother eating sweet rolls, a sensation so strong it led to running out of rooms and arguments. This early reaction to sound extended into her adulthood, affecting her during flights, movies, and public transit due to the noises made by fellow passengers. Lisa also delves into the realization that her sensitivity to sound has a flip side, experiencing a deeply relaxing and trance-like state from certain sounds and voices, which she connects to the phenomenon of ASMR. She notes the complexity and duality of her connection to sound, highlighting both its capacity to cause intense discomfort and profound relaxation.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 19. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I'm honored to get a chance to speak with none other than Lisa Loeb. Lisa is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who started her career with the platinum-selling hit song Stay from the classic 1994 film Reality Bites. She recently released her 15th album, A Simple Trick to Happiness, and followed that with the debut of her new musical, Together Apart, which has been written up in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and People. Lisa also hosts her own weekday SiriusXM show called Stay with Lisa Loeb on 90s on 9, where she shares first-hand behind-the-scenes accounts about the music and events of the 90s. Lisa is also known to parents and kids for her five children's albums and two illustrated children's books with music. And on this episode, we will actually talk a lot about how misophonia has affected her family life. Lisa is often recognized for those iconic cat-eyed glasses, and she actually has her own eyewear line called Lisa Loeb Eyewear, where she oversees the business and design. And that collection is available at optical shops wherever women's and children's frames are available, as well as Costco. She's also on film and television, and most recently was in the Hallmark holiday movie Hanukkah on Rye, which came out this past December. If you want to learn more about Lisa, you can head over to You can reach out to me by email at or hit me up on Instagram and Facebook at Missiphonia Podcast. Feel free to share this episode to reach more Missiphones, 90s fans, and especially 90s fans with Missiphonia. Please head over and leave a quick rating wherever you listen to this show. It helps drive us up in the algorithms. Just a note, a quick note about this episode. You know I edit the sound as much as possible to remove triggers. There were just a few periods of clicking here and there, more towards the end, that were a little trickier to get rid of. I don't think they were too bad, but my apologies if it causes problems. All right, let's just get started with this special episode with Lisa Loeb. Lisa, welcome to the podcast. Very exciting to have you.

Lisa [2:21]: Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

Adeel [2:24]: Yeah, I guess, do you want to just get into it maybe? Like, when did you know Misophonia had a name?

Lisa [2:30]: I don't think I knew misophonia had a name until probably within the last 10 years, maybe even later. It may have been when my kids, it may have been when I realized my kids had it, that I found out it had a name. And it's funny, there were two things that I didn't know about. One of them was, well, when I was a kid, this is a long explanation, a long way to get there, but when I was a kid, Gosh, as long as I can remember, at least when I was in elementary school, if not earlier. So, you know, single digits, probably eight, nine, ten years old. And I remember this. I'm not going to go into too much of my sister either because it's her story to tell. But I feel like my sister had the same thing. My mother, my sweet mom, would eat sweet rolls from Mrs. Baird's bread, which is like she'd eat breakfast pastry sometimes for breakfast and sip her coffee. And that was her special moment in the morning. My mom, she had four kids and she would be in charge of all of us and feeding us and getting us to school. And she had a lot on her plate. But one of the things that she needed to do was sit and have her breakfast and drink her coffee. And the sound of her eating that sweet roll and the sound that, let's see if I can make it happen. I don't know if you can hear that but um yeah which my sister later coined the term yamming which meant like the sound of people eating bananas with that that just that creamy terrible sound um anyway that's called yamming and so at an early age especially when my mom would eat breakfast that sound would drive me nuts and I like to say I used to scream and run out of the room and my sister I think did too and there were a lot of arguments about that and Sometimes we would say, I'm not eating in here, and we'd run out. And in retrospect, that was the misophonia. I just thought I hated certain sounds. But I was so angry, and I took it so personally. And it wasn't until years later, after I had experienced being, I travel a lot for my work as a musician, being on airplanes with people opening those little bags of snacks, people eating loudly. Being in a movie theater where I love being in a movie theater, but hearing other people eat that popcorn or rifle their fingers through those bags or being on a subway in New York where I used to live and people with long fingernails, you know, eating hot Cheetos. I don't know if hot Cheetos were around at the time, but eating Cheetos out of Mylar bags, which became more and more popular, you know, through the 90s. I was just... so angry and so distracted and so out of sorts, you know? And it wasn't until later, I may have read a newspaper article about it in the New York Times or something, I found that there was a name for it. And I talked to my sister and we were like, oh my gosh, there's a name for it. And I and I so anyway, it took me a long time. It was funny, too. Sorry, I'm going on and on and not giving you space to to give me more questions. But the other thing I found out around the same time was I as a musician, I'd all I like to joke around and I like to tell stories on stage and talk a lot. One of the things I would talk about is another experience I had with sound, which is I'd ask the audience to say, hey, does anyone get in a trance? And, you know, people would laugh and titter as they do. And I said, you know, sometimes when I'm on an airplane and I hear a flight attendant's voice, especially for some reason when it's a man who's got a really gentle, wonderful kind of feminine voice and they're telling the directions on what to do, you know, the safety directions. If you, you know, like to put your seatbelt on, put your put the metal in the clasp. clasp or whatever and like you know all those like emergency things that people say at the beginning of the flight if i heard that voice if i was in an office especially um the dmv sort of government offices hearing people type on a typewriter There were certain situations where certain voices would put me in a trance, I said, and certain sounds would put me in a trance. Even once I was in Spain and we got a secret tour of a Moroccan, kind of like they would have these beautiful Moroccan designs in these buildings. I forgot what it's called. And this man in Spanish gave our group a tour in Spanish. And I could speak Spanish well enough. But his voice put me in a trance to the point where my arms, you know, I don't know if you ever did that thing where you stood in a doorway and pushed out with your arms against the doorframe. And then when you stood into the room, your arms floated up sideways up into the air. I don't know if you ever did that. But that was the thing we used to do when we were kids. But I was so relaxed when that man gave us a tour of that space and his Spanish accent in Spain. My arms floated up to the side. And all of these things are now what people call like ASMR. It's those ASMR sounds. And it was a similar relationship with sounds, but the positive side of it, where it, it, it relaxed me to the point where my arms might float up to the side where I feel like I'm almost in a trance. And I feel like that's the other side of the music phonia that my, my, um, my awareness and my attached, my, my, my physical reaction to sounds can be so drastic and violent on one end and on the other side they can be so i could be so sucked into it that it can put me in a trance in a positive way so it's really interesting and that's this whole asmr craze that's going on where people do these you know, sounds on video. And what's funny is some of the ones that they call ASMR can give me that misophonia reaction where I am so angry, the sounds make me so mad, and they can set me off in the opposite direction. So it's just, I don't know, it's just an interesting world to live in.

Adeel [8:22]: Yeah, essentially, it's come up a couple times. Well, ASMR has come up quite a bit, and it's usually panned because people usually find the negative ones. But what's come up a couple times is the positive side. And I know that there actually is some research going into... Can we come up with some algorithm where your noise-canceling headphones actually tries to cancel out maybe negative sounds with something that gives you positive?

Lisa [8:47]: That would be nice. I mean, I did meet with an audiologist to talk to them about my kids because with me, I'm of the generation from the 1970s where you just suck it up. If you have a problem, you just deal with it. Yeah, you scream and run to the other room. You... But as a grown-up, I know how to... It turns out some of the things that I do... Okay, now I'm going on way too many tangents. But anyway, I ended up going to an audiologist because my kids were having problems. And we wanted to figure out if... We were trying to figure out, are there specialists who can help us? And so we, we went to audiologist was one of the people we went to, to help us. And he had some ideas. And one of those was sounds that you listen to, you know, not, not white noise, but I forget what color the noise is to kind of cancel out the negative sounds. And also more, more than anything, just retrain your brain to focus on other things. Um,

Adeel [9:46]: Yeah, that's a common thing. There's kind of hearing aids that you can get by Widex and other companies. Did you, other than audiologists, did you see any other kind of modalities, like therapies?

Lisa [10:02]: Well, for my kid, kids were working on it now. That's how I found this. That's how we sort of got connected because I didn't realize there was a whole community. The main things we did was first find an audiologist. And they actually, they gave me the, they checked my hearing and stuff as well because I said, yeah, I have misophonia too. But they also found that I had hyperacusis, which my daughter has, my son does not have. So that means sound louder to us. So there's a whole process that we are supposed to go through to help calm the hyperacusis first so that the channels into our brain are not so wide open and then go into the misophonia. But it was such a big process and my kids were a little bit young for the process at the time. and it seemed really involved for me it was going to be the actual hearing aids you know thousands of dollars hearing aids um that may or may not work and uh and and for my kids we were not carrying we they did not have cell phones and ipads Eventually they did with COVID times, but we were having such issues with the kids being on the computers too much. I didn't want them walking around holding a device that was providing the sound for these things that they were supposed to be listening to up to six hours a day while they're doing other things, which meant I needed to be right next to them to make sure they were just having those sound generators happening. to teach their brains to be distracted from, you know, not distracted, but just to redirect their their mind in a different direction. It wasn't a practical solution for us. So then we also tried seeing a specific therapist who's one of the therapists here in town who deals with misophonia. And she was giving us a lot of suggestions of things to do in the world to help both physically I don't know the exact words you know things like like tapping on your head pressing your fingers things that you're supposed to do that train your body to not focus on those things as well as literally distract you from the sounds some things that I already do I make a sound in my own ear if I'm in a situation that I really can't control like yesterday i was at my son's musical and they had sold those little bags mylar bags of snacks in advance so the little girl we had to move seats because there was a guy in front of us chewing gum so my daughter and i needed to move seats but then we moved to a place that was even more difficult for me because behind us was a little girl eating three different bags of snacks one eminem at a time and i i just I was having such a reaction. But I just stuck my finger in my ear and kind of moved it around to make a sound that's a little bit louder that no one else can hear. But the sound of my finger on my own ear skin was loud enough to, it almost creates that kind of shushing noise that you can get from those noise generators. to distract me while I got through her eating. Otherwise I would have gotten up and moved, but we had already gotten up and moved once. And I didn't want to do that. And my daughter was actually more okay with the wrinkling bag sounds than the gum chewing sound. But anyway, so we've, you know, we're working through our way. and then and then your kids so this this has all happened so you've known about it i guess for 10 years since the around the new york times yeah i mean i've experienced it for over you know for for close to 50 years um and it's and it's a struggle and once i've had it i've started discussing it with others one of the therapists suggested that we that i go online and join groups online, misophonia groups. And on one hand, yes, it's been a little bit helpful because I see that it's not a unique problem. And the issues we've been through with my kids and the frustration and the arguments and all kinds of things we've been going through with my kids, I've realized, wow, I am not alone. On the other hand, it hasn't really provided me with a lot of solutions. You know, every once in a while things come up about things that we should try that I have not tried yet because it's also hard to get buy-in from kids sometimes and you need buy-in in order for these solutions to work.

Adeel [14:16]: Yeah, it's kind of double the sort. There are a lot of people, as you can probably tell, there's a big community online, but it seems like a lot of the times when people get in front of the computer, they're just ready to rant.

Lisa [14:28]: Yeah, there's a lot of sadness, honestly. And... Wow, there's just so, and I think of my own experience, you know, my daughters can get pretty frustrated. And again, I'm not telling you the full, I'm not going to tell you the full experience because that's her story to tell, but it does definitely affect the family in a very huge way. And you really have to have buy-in. And I know for myself, when I say to her, look, I know what you're going through, she says, no, you don't know what I'm going through. I really do know what she's going through. um but but yeah you know and and because of my awareness we do allow things like hey i can see it's hard for you right now why don't you eat in the other room um

Adeel [15:13]: Which is huge. I mean, there's a lot of people who come on and don't have that.

Lisa [15:16]: And again, that's not always the reaction from all the parents in the room. We just learned this phrase from a parenting coach that I wanted to go to because as parents of people with misophonia, there's a constant struggle. And this happens with all kinds of behavior, whether it's related to neurodiverse issues. and facts or just kids behavior. You don't know if it's a can't or I won't. And that's a huge issue. And sometimes you just don't know if a kid can't eat at the table or if they just don't want to eat at the table. And they're using it as an excuse. And this is like a huge issue for us right now that we are trying to figure out. It sounds like from the books and what the parenting coaches say that the best thing to do is to err on the side of can't. and go from there. The kid can't eat at the table right now. And yes, like you said, often with a lot of us, our big triggers can be our parents or people closest to us. And we question, we're like, well, how can they get through the day? And they're fine at school. But often with a lot of different issues, they're holding it together at school and maybe also communicating to certain good friends or teachers issues. Like I've seen my daughter advocate for herself and ask the teacher not to hand out chewing gum to the class. You know, which wasn't even an issue when I was a kid because chewing gum wasn't allowed at school. Or, you know, when they had... often would be at school with seats that they had to have every day because of COVID. You know, they weren't allowed to change seats. They needed to stick with the same kids so they could do contact tracing, which I really appreciate. And yet they may be paired with a kid whose eating style is not ideal for my kid. But luckily the kids were able to either Tell the teacher or tell the other kid. Hey, do you mind not eating with your mouth open? Sometimes that works Sometimes it didn't but I love that they could try to advocate for themselves in a respectful way Did you have you at any time talk to the school by chance? Oh, yeah, we talk to the school very respectful Schools have been very respectful about that that being said, you know sometimes the sound of a teacher's voice or worse the sound or easier if it's the sound of their voice on zoom because you can say hey i'm having trouble with this um but sometimes you can't you know sometimes you can't control it luckily we haven't had uh main teachers that have been an issue with their voices um But it's, you know, it's a push and a pull because sometimes once the kids know, oh, I can say that this teacher's voice is a problem for me. You know, again, you get into the can't versus the won't. I know my misophonia has gotten worse in a way since the kids, since I've had the kids, because now I'm always on the lookout for, oh, gosh, is this sound going to be a problem for them? Are we going to be able to do this? There's movies we watch. You know, we watched recently during one of the holiday breaks. I was like, oh, let's watch. you know um you've got mail like a an old school romantic comedy not realizing that it takes place in new york so these like lovely scenes that everybody loves where people are eating street food or an apple or like you know having a love having a like a A family meal that everybody's getting together and eating like a Subway sandwich. Oh my God, those are huge triggers. Kids can't watch people with that sound that everyone associates with just loving their hoagie. You know, like biting into a hoagie is like, some of us are like, oh my God, I lived in New York and ate those sandwiches and that was so fun. For some of us, they're like, oh my God, if I see somebody eating Chinese food out of a carton in a police station, I'm going to kill somebody. um right you know what i'm saying in a lovingly funny way but when you're actually in that moment i start all of a sudden my antennas are up way higher than they were for my even for myself and a sound that might be a little bit annoying to me like i've always hated watching people eat chinese food out of cartons in cop dramas and now with my kids i'm like oh my god it's the misophonia like that's right it's it's really annoying like And people are like, oh, I'm enjoying my food. You know, it's like, oh my God.

Adeel [19:37]: And it's interesting what you said where it's gotten worse after you've had kids who have misophonia because, you know, a lot of the thinking about where it comes from is kind of potentially, you know, the misophonia is this kind of an activated lizard mind that is kind of looking out for danger. Exactly. That actually would make sense that you're obviously looking out for your kids.

Lisa [20:01]: Right.

Adeel [20:01]: That your misophonia might be more sensitive.

Lisa [20:04]: Right.

Adeel [20:05]: You're looking out for not just yourself now.

Lisa [20:07]: Yeah, and so it activates mine a little bit. And also I myself have, not knowingly, but through the years, figured out ways to deal with it. Like, you know, you were talking about what have we tried with the kids. And a lot of it is stuff I've learned to scaffold on my own. Like I can get up and move. Granted, I'm a grown up. I can get up and move and go to a different part of the subway. I can listen to music. I can make a sound in my ear just by touching sort of the inside of my ear. That skin against skin, close proximity sound, which can be louder than somebody dear to me eating popcorn nearby. Or I love eating popcorn. But the sound of someone else rifling through the popcorn, the eating the kernels. I had cognitive behavioral therapy for different issues in my life through the years. And so if I'm sitting next to an older relative and they're loudly eating eggs and talking and making the sound that older people make when they kind of touch their lips together before they say something, you know. blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, which can make me just want to explode. I have to think to myself, that's what people do when they speak. That's what happens when you eat eggs and you're older. Well, you know, they're swallowing because their mouth is dry. Or that man is sucking his teeth over there on the airplane because that is a cultural thing that is common that businessmen might do. Or that older person or that person who's got new teeth, they're going to suck on their teeth before they talk. That person can't help.

Adeel [21:47]: Does that help?

Lisa [21:48]: It helps to a certain extent, and sometimes it doesn't. And then I have to do the other side of cognitive behavioral therapy and say, like, you feel this way. Or there's another name for this type of therapy where, like, of course you would feel this way. You've got a difference in your brain where these sounds are hard for you. And this is a really hard sound. And, and, um, and, and, and it's okay. You're, you're going to be okay. It's just a sound, but I know it feels bad and, and I'm sorry you have to feel this way right now. You know, like all the different soothing techniques and all the different distracting techniques and all the different trying to put it in, um, you know, trying to put it in. you knowing like what and you know putting it in its place and then also even i hear my my cats eating cat food loudly and i'm like isn't that funny that that sound doesn't bother you at all hearing the cats make that sound that if you know your mom was making that sound you would be so angry right now but it's a cute cat making that sound and that's what's happening

Adeel [22:50]: I guess part of that could be, and yeah, there's no real, no one knows kind of.

Lisa [22:54]: Or as a sound engineer, even like I'm not a sound engineer myself, but I'm very familiar with different sound frequencies and the names of them. And I'm like, wow, when you hear something that's around 4k in someone's voice and somebody's mixed that sound louder in that movie, that sound bothers you. Interesting. If you ever had a control of that, you could turn that down in their voice. You know, with my kids, we may turn on subtitles. Luckily, both my kids can read very well. And so every once in a while, like when we were watching that movie, we turn on the subtitles. We turn the sound off and turn on the subtitles. And in some cases, I'm more quick to be ready to do that because I personally want to watch the movie without everyone having a breakdown. You know, like, oh, let's watch the movie. Let's finish watching the movie. Let's use our tools, you know?

Adeel [23:44]: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, that's interesting. The CBT thing, trying to explain it, I would think that, yes, it could maybe work the first time, but the second and third time, I'm wondering, like, now that you've explained it, like, I don't know how effective it would be long-term, but I think there are other CBT approaches that could possibly work. It's quite a wide field, and there's a lot of exploration happening.

Lisa [24:06]: Yeah, when we get off the... When we stop talking for this podcast, we will get... I'm going to pick your brain for some more... tools because there are so many of them. And I see with Facebook, that's another good thing, good and bad. With Facebook and all the different social media places and the different resources that parents talk about, a lot of people are working on Zoom, which is great. So I could work with someone in Ohio. There's a doctor that I actually, there's somebody who makes my in-ear monitors in Chicago as a musician. And I called him because he's very, you know, he's in the field of sound and of ears and listening and everything. And he connected me with an audiologist in a different city who had worked with him who did deal in the field of misophonia. They even gave me the name of some vitamins that people take that apparently have helped people a lot. I'm sort of sensitive to vitamins, so I haven't tried it yet. But apparently they were using them with military to help them with... hearing damage or something from being in the military something like that and it turned out that people with tinnitus oh that's what it was it was tinnitus because i also have tinnitus um which i got from taking a certain medication and i didn't know that was a side effect and i quickly stopped that medication after about a month because i noticed my ears were ringing all the time um but apparently this this um vitamin that has super levels of certain things can really had a side effect of helping get rid of tinnitus which is so interesting. But anyway, the person who dealt with the tinnitus also dealt with misophonia. So, but again, like maybe there's some people who we don't have a ton of people here in town, but maybe there are specialists that will work better in other places. And some of the specialists we have in town, when we meet with them on zoom, their voices and their pictures aren't ideal. with the misophonia, which has been a huge issue as well. When you have people with misophonia in your family, but you can't get to the right people to work with them because their voices or their movements and other things they do can really be triggers for the misophonia. So we got this great feedback loop of not being able to handle the misophonia because you can't be in the room with the person who's trying to help you with misophonia.

Adeel [26:26]: Well, yeah, like you said, I am connected to quite a few therapists and doctors and researchers, so we should definitely chat afterwards, whether it's here or on DMs or email or whatever. Very interesting. Okay, no, this is super interesting. I actually want to also maybe kind of go back to... Your first triggers, I'm curious because I've had a lot of people come on the podcast and right around the time that they kind of noticed their misophonia, there was, I don't know, maybe stuff going on at home, kind of like a walking on eggshells experience.

Lisa [27:01]: Nope, there was nothing going on. It was normal life. I just know that certain sounds, you know, I was a little girl. with a little sister and a big brother and a little brother. And daddy went off to be a doctor, to go to work every day. And my mom would sit and have her breakfast. She would wake up before us, make all of our breakfast, sit and eat her breakfast, either with us or while we were around. She's much more organized than I am. I rarely am able to get myself together to eat breakfast before my kids. But she would get everything in order and she would have her coffee. And I just would freak out. That's it. Nothing else.

Adeel [27:42]: And how did that affect your relationship with her? Like, were you guys close?

Lisa [27:47]: Luckily, my mom was easygoing and she didn't, it didn't, it didn't, she didn't get mad at us. And if she did, it would, if she did say, you know, because when you scream at your parents, she probably maybe got mad. I don't remember the getting mad part. I just remember me getting mad. right right okay and i think with expo is what we would call exposure therapy you know i or just again like i call it sucking up sucking it up you know you just you just dealt with it i just was constantly in situations where i would notice it and i just it was my problem you know like and i just continued on i don't i don't know like who knows if it affected certain friendships that i decided not to have because i couldn't watch people eat I don't remember that. I just remember that that that issue. And then as I got to be more of a grown up, especially with the snacks on the airplane and traveling as a musician, it affected me. But as a child, I didn't it didn't. I noticed sounds more than them bothering me. Like I knew that when my third grade and second grade science and art teacher, who was the same person, when she would read aloud to us, she would read us stories and she would talk about paintings and the way she said paintings. and the way she pronounced her p the p and and we were studying american um it was sort of an advanced class for young third graders but we were doing a very deep dive into american um painters and and there was copley and the p it was like slightly spitty and it was a little bit soothing but i noticed it I noticed it all the time. I noticed people's accents. I noticed the sound of like my math teacher, Mrs. Symes in second grade and third grade. They had those kind of coffee cups in the 70s where it was like a plastic cup and inside of it was another throwaway plastic cup that was like kind of a plasticky and the sound of your dry hand on that plastic cup, almost like a solo cup, but it was smaller. So it had a higher pitched sound. Brush kind of powdery sound. I just I knew these sounds they were just important to me. I don't know you know the sound of a cup of sequence that you might use to do arts and crafts the sound of glitter and I was very into my senses. When I was very little, I think I was in a Montessori preschool or something. And so we would do activities around the different senses. There were little smell bottles. You could smell these different smells and figure out what they were. And I loved those. So I was like very in tune and the feeling of like a patent leather box and the feeling of velvet. Like I loved my senses. And sometimes I wonder if I made my kids' misophonia happen because when you raise kids, you want to make them really aware of their senses and how things smell and sound and feel. And yet I think I'm like, oh, geez, did I overstimulate their senses to make them too aware of their senses? But those are things I took joy from when I was a kid, you know, mostly other than the sound of slurping coffee and sweet rolls.

Adeel [31:10]: Yeah, so the negative senses, like all those other senses where basically you just have positive memories. It's just the misophonia happens to have the kind of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of situation where there's like a negative side to that sense.

Lisa [31:27]: Yeah. And it's funny, too, because even now, not to jump back to the future, but I listen to NPR all the time. And I didn't know this was a misophonia thing. Certain voices make me angry and I actually have to change the channel. There's this one gal. I'm sure she's very, very nice, but she... used to do the news on one of my NPR channels here in LA. And I'd have to literally change the channel. I just could not listen to her voice, the spittiness, the unusual speech that she had. And a lot of people have that on NPR. They have different... speech patterns and some of them like there was one guy who actually he was on an am station and he's got a new york accent and he talks about food and i thought it made it it was like the positive side of unusual voices that made me want to eat that chinese food but um there were certain voices that i start mimicking and i didn't realize that was a misophonia thing i start mimicking them in order to handle them i'll actually try to talk like they're talking When it's actually really, I realized, oh, wow, it's actually really annoying me. But it's funny that one DJ, who I'm sure is very kind and nice, she moved to an AM station that I listened to. And she was doing the, she moved on one station to another. I don't remember which direction. But I noticed she was on like another station doing the. the traffic. And I was like, oh God, here she is again. I had to change the channel. And there's one gal in particular who does like station IDs on the channel that I just, I cannot stand it. And I start mimicking her voice. I don't want to call them affectations because she's not pretending to have them. It's just her voice. I have to mimic it. It's just... It's a funny way to handle it.

Adeel [33:08]: Yeah, mimicking is odd, but a lot of us all independently kind of developed that as kind of a coping mechanism. And lately there has been some research as to why that might be. Apparently they found that when many misphones see triggers, there's a part of our brain that controls our jaw, I guess, that is... that is lights up even though we're not moving and so the idea might be that us us moving in sync with that uh those neurons firing somehow puts our brain at ease again um interesting it has to do with like mirror neurons which are i read about that and i was like i don't think that's true i just want to make it's like a weird making fun of and controlling it Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know, but I like early days, but there's, there's, yeah, there's research happening. So, um, and, and yeah, so you said, um, I think you said that you, you're not sure if it affected kind of like, uh, I don't know, friendships and relationships, but, uh, as you were becoming an adult, um, and moving out of the house and whatnot and traveling, um, do you like, did it, um, affect your career, affect, uh, friendships, social life?

Lisa [34:24]: I don't think so. Not knowledgeable. Not in a way that I can see. I bet, you know, I'm sure it was like a stone in a stream. There may have been situations or friendships or relationships that I didn't... um that weren't as close i can't think of any in particular but i'm sure there must have been some along the way that i just subconsciously uh avoided um because because of sounds you know um there's definitely situations but i feel like it's more taking care of myself like I, movie theaters, I won't sit next to people if I can help it. I'll get up and move. And with my kids, like I was in Ireland with my daughter and like we couldn't go to this one particular experience, the Leprechaun Museum, because I found out it was a 45 minute thing and it was actually seated and someone was going to tell us a story. And once it started, you couldn't leave. And my daughter was having some particular problems with Irish accents with people. I don't know why. And, you know, nothing against anybody who's Irish. I think it was just certain frequencies were coming out of certain people's mouth, especially storytelling. People, when they're doing storytelling, often it can be an issue for my daughter, the sounds that they like to use, you know. And we couldn't get up and leave. And I was like, we just can't go in.

Adeel [35:54]: Too risky, yeah.

Lisa [35:56]: It was too risky. I didn't want to disrupt everything. But, yeah, it definitely affects our life now. I think it doesn't affect my life as much. I will, again, like... I was on an airplane just a couple days ago where I was like praying that that person had a small size bag of Czech mix not the large size because if they had to take one more piece out individually or like the worst is gummy bears because people take one or two out at a time of those like European bags that are very heavy and plasticky and they take one or two out and then they chew them with the chewing which is really annoying and then they have to wrinkle their hand to get back into the bag. And it's a very slow process. They don't eat gummy bears as fast as other puffy Cheetos. I literally can look at a bag and think, oh my gosh, I'm gonna die. Like, I don't know what I'm gonna do. And sometimes I have to talk to myself. You know, like I'm a crazy person. I'm like, okay, I have to make my own noise so that they can't hear what they're saying. And I'm gonna talk to myself. And not only is the sound gonna distract me, but what I'm saying, they're just eating the gummy bears. You're gonna be okay. They're gonna eat the gummy bears and you're gonna be okay.

Adeel [37:06]: Ah, so that's one of your coping methods is to... Self-talk, self-talk out loud. Not just to soothe yourself, but just the actual sound and the distraction.

Lisa [37:14]: I almost turned around to the girl last night at the play to go back to the play. I almost turned around to her, and I was looking around to see if I could find a cup to have her pour her food into the cup.

Adeel [37:24]: To throw at her?

Lisa [37:25]: And somebody else's kid, to see if I could help them pour their food into a cup and eat it out of the cup. I was at a Broadway musical where the tickets cost a kajillion dollars. And this one woman behind me after the intermission, after they made the announcement multiple times, please do not eat or drink in the theater. It was a quiet and she was just doing the gummy bear thing. And I just was like, I'm going. And it wasn't for the rules. It was for me personally. I was going to freak out. And I kind of didn't want to do this in front of my daughter because I didn't want her to see that I wasn't able to handle it. But also, on the other hand, I was I finally and it was an older woman and I did not want to be demeaning or rude or anything. And I had to turn around during the show and say, hey, I'm so sorry to bother you, but do you mind putting your snack away? And she was like, oh, I'm almost finished. And I was like, thank you so much. And it was like literally. we couldn't move we were in like unbelievable seats were right in the middle of a huge theater with no aisles i was trapped and i was about to i couldn't handle it and i felt like my kids you know where all of a sudden they're gonna have a tear rolling down their cheek because they can't they're trapped you're trapped you can't It was really devastating. And it's kind of embarrassing as a grown up that I couldn't keep it together. But I didn't cry. I had to use my resources. And I was like, you know what? What's the worst thing that's going to happen? She'll be annoyed and she'll keep eating her food. But at least I tried.

Adeel [38:54]: Right, right. Yeah, it could have been a lot worse.

Lisa [38:56]: Also, by the way, when I was traveling, I did notice with the misophonia, because I did, I'm sure, talk to some therapist about it at a certain point. Like, why am I taking it so personally? But this is before we knew it really had a name. I noticed it was worse. before that time of the month. It would get worse before that time of the month. And so I started noticing, and that actually, having that knowledge, and I think Eckhart Tolle talked about that a lot in The Power of Now, to notice different behaviors and different things that bother you more or less with your hormones. And I once he said that and I was I listened to that and I thought, oh, it actually helped calm the misophonia because I was like, oh, my hormones are making me more depressed five days early or my misophonia is actually acting up. Sounds are bothering me more on airplanes. And that really helped me a lot.

Adeel [39:49]: There have been a few women who have come on and said that, yeah, they've definitely noticed a strong correlation between hormonal changes like menopause and other things and their misophonia. There has been, I'm sure, zero research that's gone into that, but there should be more.

Lisa [40:07]: I do the positive reinforcement with myself too, like I said earlier with the cats. I'm like, look, you were able to sit and, good job, Lisa, you were able to sit and let the cats eat behind you and you were just, that sound didn't bother you at all. Like, oh, you were able to listen to NPR and you didn't change a channel. Wow, you were able to sit for 15 minutes with those people who were eating those eggs and you were okay.

Adeel [40:35]: And how do you feel after you do that? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment and you're able to maybe handle the near future?

Lisa [40:44]: No, but I'm trying it out. I'm trying it out. You know, I just want something to work.

Adeel [40:51]: Yeah. I mean, there is a mode of therapy where the idea is if this is, I know this might not be in your case, but if this is a case of maybe a child early in their life that had some needs not met or there was some chronic small t trauma, um that um if this child needs to be talked to as an adult um from from an adult point of view to come to reassure it to give it some positive reinforcement that seems to help some people that sounds really uh great like it would work for me i don't have anything like that right so there's nothing that anyone could tell me um and you know like i have a few things that are that are

Lisa [41:38]: not ideal but but nothing of any note you know it's not ideal like having to wait so long or my mom was running late but nothing luckily i i didn't have anything like that that would point to really affecting this i just think i have it's my superpower too and i and i and i recognize that i my my work is in sound and its attention to detail and editing. I don't personally edit a lot of video, but when I work with editors, when I work with art directors, I am very keen on really specific details about what things look like, what they feel like, how they're made, whether it's wardrobe that I'm having made, art direction, videos, mixing records, directing people in musicals and plays. That attention to detail is what I think to me, and I've heard it from people I work with, that it puts my work in a different category. That people might be like, oh, you're such a control freak. And my friend calls it a quality control freak. But they say, wow, I wouldn't have noticed that detail, and it actually made it so much better, and I appreciate it. So sometimes even though it can cause more work for people around me, it pays off, I think. But I think that's the same sort of part of my brain that hears things in a certain way.

Adeel [43:00]: Have you met any other misophones?

Lisa [43:01]: Oh, tons. And in fact, when I have to tell people sometimes, because my kids will sometimes travel with headphones that either do help block out the sound or psychosomatically make them think that they're blocking out the sound to a certain extent, not actual like sound noise canceling like Bose. but more like those airport worker headphones that sometimes I think actually those make it worse for me. I can hear some of the higher-pitched sounds and the lower-pitched sounds more clearly, the bows with the bows. But anyway, I have to explain, like, hey, my kids have this thing. It's called misophonia. Please, you know, don't take it personally, but... The sound of eating can trigger them. Sometimes we like to explain it like, are there any sounds that really bother you, like fingernails on a chalkboard? Or when you're driving in New York and somebody cuts you off and you're so angry, that's what it feels like, road rage, but it's with sound. And so I explain it to people and sometimes somebody's like, oh my God, I never knew that had a name. Oh my God, I hate when my husband blah, blah, blahs. Oh my gosh. And it can be with movements as well. And that has a different name now. I know, but I forget what the name of it is. But so many people are like... It's the visual. Yeah, so my daughter has a bit of that as well. But so many people, like one out of four people I talked to, or one out of five people are like, oh my gosh, I didn't know that had a name. I, oh my gosh, I didn't know that. And for some people, it's a very specific, like one or two triggers, but other people, they generally, they have a lot of triggers and it's really something that exists. And I send them that New York Times article because of course that sounds so official. The New York Times article about it that came out recently and people... Even my mom, you know, who made those sounds, she's like, you know what? I have that. And I think your grandmother had that too. So it's interesting. And other people really, really don't have it. Like my husband really doesn't have it.

Adeel [45:03]: And what does he think of his family?

Lisa [45:06]: It's very, very frustrating, honestly, to put it mildly. You know, it's really, really hard. And it's hard because, unfortunately, he is one of the big triggers. And with COVID, that's when it really came about with my kids, when we were all together for so much. And we have, like a lot of people, family meals and lots more family meals than normal. And it may have been my fault. I may have even said something here and there like about certain sounds. I don't think I did, but maybe I did. And my kids became very, very aware of sounds and of eating sounds and of talking sounds and of mouth opening sounds and of

Adeel [45:43]: Yeah.

Lisa [45:44]: And it seems just like misbehavior when it starts. It seems like kids who want to go watch TV or play video games and not sit at the table.

Adeel [45:51]: Right.

Lisa [45:52]: Or not do their due diligence, you know, talking to their relatives or things like that.

Adeel [45:57]: Yeah, right.

Lisa [45:58]: And he understands it. You know, it's been explained to him by experts. You know, Jaylene Jaffe, one of our favorite experts, and others. And he's read articles about it, and he's explained it to his parents, who are very curious and concerned about it. You know, they wanted to know, well, when is it going to be fixed? And it's like, well, it's a good question. So he understands it, but it still definitely personally affects us in a real way. You know, it can be really, really rough.

Adeel [46:31]: Right. How are the holiday plans coming along? Do you guys all get together?

Lisa [46:36]: Exactly. Well, it's a huge detail for everything. It's like for Passover, it's like, okay, yes, we can all do it. But by the way, there's a good chance the kids, this is how it's going to go. The kids may or may not sit at the table with us. If they do, they may or may not get up at a certain point, including right when we sit down. Please don't, I'm going to put, even though it's not traditional for people to eat Passover food before the actual meal starts, we have a tradition that there will be carrot sticks and celery and pickles. And I don't want any of the grownups eating. The kids can eat, but none of the grownups are allowed to eat. Please be patient with that. And, you know, at our Passover last year, my daughter was not ever able to even sit down with us because even just the idea, you know, she she's very in tune. She can see food and know what it's going to sound like. She was not able to join us at all. My son, weirdly. was there for the entire meal but we had a table set up in the other room just in case and everybody's on board and i said please don't get mad nobody get mad but luckily you know so so we have there's certain things we cannot do because we're going to be in two close quarters with other trigger people There's other situations that we can do because there will be extra rooms or more space where the kids can go and be away if they need to. We're always explaining to the people involved, hey, this may happen or may not happen. The kid may stay behind. A kid may break off into their own group. You know, it's rough because it's not, I would like to do a lot more things and it definitely limits what we can do. But we're trying to make the best of it, you know?

Adeel [48:22]: Yeah, that's interesting. There's a term called, and it might be too strong a term, but misophonia, grief, where it's like...

Lisa [48:28]: It's grieving that you can't do certain things because of something that's going on. And it may even be... And I personally have a lot of that, unfortunately, more for my kids and with my kids and for my family because I say, you know, nobody's getting younger here. And these are opportunities that we are missing because of this misophonia. But it's a very fine line because part of me... wants the kids to really understand like, hey, time is not standing still and you're missing opportunities with the family because of this. you're not going to be able to have that conversation possibly in 10 years. You know, this is the time now that you're going to be able to do these things. You know, one of my aunts passed away recently and, you know, not to get drastic, but we didn't get to spend enough time with her. And there's, she's not the only one that we don't get to spend enough time with. And on one hand, I think maybe it'll snap the kids into kind of like quick exposure, sort of like exposure therapy does. Sometimes I personally, when I eat with the kids, I'm not a big trigger for them. I can be with certain foods, but I'm really not. Luckily, I'm not a big trigger with the kids. So I kind of secretly do exposure therapy with them, not in a harsh way, but like. i see how long they can go and often they can get through a whole meal with me and it's fine or they can get through half of the meal without headphones and then they put their headphones on in the back of my head i'm thinking okay good the more they can get used to eating with me or if i sneakily start eating popcorn when i'm watching a show with one of them and they're able to do it and i say hey you know we just watched a whole show and i ate popcorn and and i want them to know they can do it but it's the same sort of with that grief shock it's it's a shock you know like like shock them into saying hey this is your opportunity you know and maybe it's for a fun thing like hey you know you're not gonna let's go to disneyland like you're gonna miss out if you don't go like you're gonna miss out um and And sometimes they grieve also because they're like, but I just can't. I just can't do it. And it sucks. And it's very sad because sometimes you think, oh, wait a minute. If I trick them and tell them that their time is going away and they're not going to get this great experience or conversely, they're not going to get this sweet life experience because it's going to go away. And they're sad about it, too, because they just can't handle it. You know?

Adeel [51:12]: Yeah, it's an interesting approach. And it's good that at least it's coming from you, from someone who has misophonia. Hopefully they can... It usually tends to be better. We tend to, I think, take those kinds of suggestions better from somebody who has misophonia. Because I think a lot of us feel, I don't know, feel maybe safer around people with misophonia. Maybe that's why they can eat around you a little bit more.

Lisa [51:34]: Well, they also don't feel like they're being blamed. I understand. You know, like, when you're a trigger... you i don't i don't i mean it's hard for me to i was about to say i don't know what it feels like to be a trigger but i do my especially with my little boy my son i'll you know at night we used to do it more but but he reads on his own but when we do i still like enjoy reading to him there's some great books out there and I'm laying on my back and my mouth gets dry and I have to shut my mouth and open it again or I'm trying to be really quiet and just swallow quietly instead of making a deal out of the way I'm swallowing. And all of a sudden my swallowing is making a smacking sound and I'll say, stop smacking, you know. He'll say it in that kind of way that you feel like saying it when you're grown up, but you often don't say it because you know that that's rude. And you say, stop smacking. And instead of me saying, I'm not smacking, you know, I don't. Sometimes part of me and sometimes I have behaved this way, unfortunately. And I say, fine, I'm not reading. Good night. Leaving the room. You know, I take it personally and I'm like, fine, if you don't want to deal with me, then I'm leaving the room. You don't get me to read to you. And more and sometimes when I have my wits about me, which is more often now, I say. Would you rather me sit across the room? Or I say, hey, bud, you know, I'm smacking because I got to swallow when I read because my mouth got dry. That's what it is. Well, you're smacking. Yes, I am. Sorry. I'll do my, you know, doing my best. And in a more loving tone that I actually feel, I say, hey, I can tell this is really hard for you. Why don't we stop now? Or I'll get a drink of water and see if we can make it better. Or let me sit across the room and let's see if we can make it better. And if he's still saying, you're smacking, instead of going to his level of getting mad and getting angry with him, I just say, okay, I love you so much. I'm going to go out of the room now. Or hey, I'll just give you a hug right now. you know, and go out of the room. But people who are triggers don't always feel that way. And as parents, I don't really know what it's like to have that from a peer. I only know a parent, a child having it, really. You know what I mean? I only know the issues really come up when the child is being triggered. I haven't seen me have a big issue with other people being my triggers because I'm able to say something or move or change or deal with it. But what happens, there's a really tough one. And this is what I mostly see. Oh, I guess because I belong to like parents with misophonia, parents of kids with misophonia. There's a trigger. There's an issue where parents, again, with kids who've got all different types of things going on and neurodiverse kids, where you don't know if you're letting your, if you're just not parenting well. And it is a real fear that I'm letting my kid get away with this or I'm letting my kid get worse with their misophonia by not shutting it down in some way. And that's when we're all reaching out for help because I think the studies keep coming back that it doesn't help if you make it even worse by getting mad. You know, parents don't know if they're... if they're letting a kid get away with something, if they're letting it get worse. Because with a lot of us of a different generation, we just sucked it up and we're living in this world and it's basically fine. But for our kids, we're appreciating that it's really hard. So.

Adeel [54:54]: Right. Well, yeah, Lisa. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for coming on. This has been great. And yeah, maybe we can.

Lisa [55:00]: Let's follow this. Let's follow up. I want to hear more about it.

Adeel [55:04]: Thank you, Lisa. It's great to hear someone in the public eye being so open about this. We had to end it a little abruptly there because Lisa was running late for another appointment and we kind of got carried away with the interview, as always happens. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this show. You can hit me up by email at or go to the website at It's easiest to send a message on Instagram at missiphoniapodcast or on Twitter at missiphoniashow. Support the show by visiting our Patreon at slash misplaypodcast. Theme music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

Unknown Speaker [56:30]: you