Luis - Music, Spirituality, and Growth Through Misophonia

S7 E32 - 3/28/2024
Luis is a translator based in Puerto Rico. Luis’ misophonia came up actually since the pandemic and he discusses the triggers he faces, such as construction noises and noises in places he’s lived. We spend a lot of time talking about empathy, or lack thereof from friends, family, and workplaces, and the challenges of finding understanding and validation. We also talk about the potential overlap with hyperacusis. Luis also reflects on his childhood experiences and how misophonia has influenced his pursuit of music. And finally, Luis explores the intersection of misophonia and spirituality, highlighting the role of self-care and empathy in managing miso.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 7, Episode 32. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Luis, a translator based in Puerto Rico. Luis' Misophonia came up actually since the pandemic, and he discusses the triggers he faces, such as construction noises and noises in places he's lived. We spend a lot of time talking about empathy or lack thereof from friends, family, and workplaces, and the challenges of finding understanding and validation. We also talk about the potential overlap with hyperacusis. Luis also reflects on his childhood experiences. and how Misophonia has influenced his pursuit of music. And finally, Liz explores the intersection of Misophonia and spirituality, highlighting the role of self-care and empathy in managing Miso. After the show, let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at or hook me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. By the way, please do head over and leave a quick review or rating wherever you listen to the show. It helps drive us up in the algorithms so that folks looking for Mr. Fonio can better find us. A few of my usual announcements. Thanks again for the ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. This episode is also sponsored by the personal journaling app Basil, B-A-S-A-L, that I developed. Basil provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you with new writing prompts based on those insights. You can even explore many different therapy approaches, modalities, and philosophies. It's available on iOS and Android. Check the show notes or go to All right. Now here's my conversation with Luis. Luis, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you here.

Luis [1:58]: All right. Thank you.

Adeel [2:01]: Yeah. So do you want to kind of start off maybe by telling us kind of where you are?

Luis [2:06]: So I'm in San Juan, Puerto Rico, actually.

Adeel [2:09]: Nice. Okay. And yeah, what do you do there in Puerto Rico?

Luis [2:12]: So I'm currently a translation student. I'm working on my master's. And, you know, I have my freelancing experience as a translator. And I also do some, you know, I have my typical...

Adeel [2:28]: day job as well um but yeah mostly in the in the languages field as of today yeah cool i think i've had a at least two or three translators on the podcast before um okay yeah so somebody in panama somebody in spain i believe um so yeah cool and uh have you did you grow up maybe let's kind of go back i'm just curious did you grow up in puerto rico

Luis [2:54]: Yeah, I've lived my entire life in Puerto Rico, born and raised.

Adeel [2:59]: Excellent. Okay. Yeah, so maybe let's go back there and kind of hear about how things started for you misophonia-wise.

Luis [3:07]: Right. So, yeah, I guess, you know, I'm 29 now. And I first, I think I first started experiencing it when I was 24, 25. It was 2020, you know, in the middle of COVID, actually. And so at the time, I was kind of in a career transition. You know, end of 2019, I... um i decided to kind of leave behind my foreign language teacher um job and kind of you know search elsewhere and i actually got a a um a job experience not you know didn't take too long for that but because of covet of course that kind of got delayed and the job kind of transition from the on-site modality to remote. And so, you know, COVID hits and I spent a few months kind of just, you know, not really even knowing how to almost interact with the outside world. Like, I don't know what places are open. I don't know what there is to do during that time. So, of course, I spent a lot of time just basically quarantined and unemployed, which was just fantastic. And then... Actually, you know, the job offer comes back and it's remote. And then shortly before that, I started experiencing misophonia basically from... upstairs neighbors was the I think the first classic yeah the first signs of that for me and more specifically a lot of construction noises so it was you know I was spending a lot of day in the apartment and from upstairs I could hear a lot of like hammering, a lot of drilling noises that would persist, you know, like throughout the morning or to the afternoon. And I would kind of have to endure that, you know, while I was quarantined. And also while I started working remotely, there were a few times where it was so invasive that I had to leave and work at the office, you know, which was nearby, thankfully, but still it was kind of an inconvenience. not to mention that obviously the the the misophonia itself kind of persisted even after the construction noises and impact noises were gone um you know i would still hear a lot of shuffling upstairs like a lot of furniture being dragged but it's kind of like abnormal how how how frequent yeah It was happening. It was almost as though they were like continuously remodeling or rearranging their apartment. It could be Sunday, 3 a.m., Monday, 6 p.m. It didn't matter what day or time of the week it was. It was just very annoying. And it kind of led me to have this, I guess, hyper-awareness, not just to the furniture, but also just the overall carelessness. I lived in that apartment complex for about eight to ten years, and I never had a problem until those particular neighbors moved in. And it wasn't just that, it was like the stuff I mentioned, but I could also hear like, I don't know, I guess it was a kid stomping around from one end of the apartment to the other, like a dog, like the claws. Kind of just scratching the floor as well. And for some reason, like nuts and bolts being dropped, like just very carelessly. And it could happen, again, it could happen any time at all. So that actually led me to kind of just want to move, literally just move out of that apartment. Like that's the first time that I felt forced to move out of a place because of the issues that I was experiencing.

Adeel [7:05]: Yeah, that definitely I can totally understand. I mean, I've moved rooms and hotels because, yeah, there was just like, you know, your brain kind of fixates. It's like, why? How could this possibly be happening so often? And so randomly, like, you know, don't these people sleep or sit down in one place? Yeah. So this is interesting. So before that, you before 2019, you had no signs of misophonia that you can remember?

Luis [7:34]: Not that I could remember. Not the way that I experienced it, especially now, because I feel that it's worsened over the years. Before that, I guess it was just a general annoyance to sound, but not necessarily like it being triggering. No, I just wanted to mention quickly that the annoyance was mainly due to barking dogs like next door. Like it would be constant and very, you know, just invasive. And I think I didn't experience pisophonia itself at that time. But those were like the first signs, I think, of there is something wrong here. Like this shouldn't be happening. Misophonia or no misophonia, just having this kind of awareness of, I guess, acoustic privacy of, you know, I am in my own home. So I don't think that this should I should tolerate this at all. So, yeah.

Adeel [8:30]: And since then, have your types of triggers expanded to other types of things? Many of us have the usual kind of mouth sounds and knee sounds. I'm curious if it's gone on from household sounds to other things or dog sounds to other things.

Luis [8:48]: Right. I think that chewing and stuff like that, any kind of eating noises, it's like the classic sign of misophonia. At least I don't. Yeah. Like for me, it's not the main trigger because I feel that's like the entryway or something to how people describe misophonia. But for me, it really depends. Like some bother me, others really don't. It has to be like really loud and abrasive and, you know, like the smacking noise, I guess, to really, really bother me. But yeah, I would say that they have expanded. I've lived in three apartments ever since I first moved out. And just today, I actually had to leave my house. It's funny because it's the same experience that I had a few years ago where I just could not. It was happening right next to my bedroom. And even with the white noise on full blast, I could still hear everything. And it just bothered me to such a point that I had to leave. And that's expanded to neighbor voices as well. And just the specific triggers that I've been experiencing in my current living situation. Just being able to overhear conversations for some reason, it really bothers me a lot. Also today, I was working with headphones on, but I was still surrounded by people. And I felt that, you know, multiple conversations happening at once across the room, you know, varying tones of voices and kind of emotional, you know, different kind of emotional things. tones of voice if that makes any sense it was also distracting that yeah i feel that voices it really depends like if i'm not um you know if i'm not in the disposition to kind of tolerate it then it's really really really intolerable yeah that's interesting um

Adeel [10:53]: I mean, and not to make a connection, but it's interesting that, you know, you're a translator and I'm assuming, you know, as you went through school, you probably had to listen very carefully to how other people talk. I'm just curious. And there's no answer. But, you know, maybe it always makes me think, is there a sensitivity that you maybe have unconsciously kind of picked up listening to other voices? And then if it's too much, it becomes overwhelming.

Luis [11:19]: Yeah, I think there is a connection, you know, because before my current studies, I did study foreign languages. I studied French, I studied German, a bit of Russian. And maybe that did kind of contribute to, you know, developing the sensitivity toward the way you speak, you know, your accent, your pronunciation, the words that you use, also the inflection that you use. I never thought of the connection until now, but yeah, that might have a lot to do with it. As a translator, what I do like is that it's such quiet work. You know, you just read, you write, you research. So yeah, I do feel that interpretation is entirely different. And I also do a lot of phone calls for my current job. And it is a challenge. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is a challenge sometimes to speak with people over the phone or to interpret things just because of the way that you process things. Sometimes it's very just this, I guess, cognitive overload. So, yeah, I do have an inclination toward translation because of that and just languages in general.

Adeel [12:37]: Something interesting earlier, too, about being sensitive to the kind of the emotional tone of voices. And, you know, I've had a lot of people come on here who are, you know, the term highly sensitive people are able to be extra sensitive to reading the room and the emotions of what's happening between people in a room. So that's just kind of stuck out. I'm just kind of curious if you kind of see yourself as that. Like, are you... find yourself kind of acutely sensitive, maybe more than most of the population to kind of the emotions of what's happening in the room.

Luis [13:14]: Yeah, I agree. I feel that at least in comparison with the average person, I would consider them. And this might be not the most positive word because, you know, you don't know them as a person, but it feels so safe space. Yeah, it just feels so careless. It feels so inconsiderate, even though they don't realize it at all. Like what's going on with you. Right. And I think that's partly due to or mostly due to just lack of manners, but partly also due to lack of awareness that misophonia is a thing. You know, it doesn't matter if it's like if it was discovered the other day, if it's a recent, you know, discovery, scientific discovery or whatever. I feel that there should be more awareness of that in general. Because I don't know. I don't know how much that would change in like public spaces and the way that buildings are designed and stuff like that. But I feel that if there were... you know, a much higher awareness than those things would be taken into consideration when you're renting, when you're looking for jobs, you know, uh, basically a lot of the, a lot of the way that public spaces and the world is designed, I feel.

Adeel [14:27]: Oh yeah. We should have like, there'll be like blankets and carpets everywhere to absorb all the sound. Well, I mean, I think, I think the important thing is at least to have, um, um, maybe options, like not everything has to be allowed concrete or wood kind of space. the at least in offices the ability to kind of like move to a you know a different kind of uh smaller room or go to a bigger room if you need to collaborate kind of thing is kind of um kind of a mixed mixed use space i think is is the key forward because i think for a lot of us we don't necessarily want to be trapped in the in a room we want to interact with other people when we need to and i think just having optionality kind of calms our nervous system down um and not feel so under threat uh I'm curious to get kind of when did you realize that it had a name? Were you kind of searching for your symptoms?

Luis [15:16]: Yeah.

Adeel [15:17]: Did someone mention it?

Luis [15:18]: Yeah, I think. No, no one. No one. I came into the conclusion all on my own, basically. Yeah, probably just from Googling symptoms and just stumbling upon the term. doing like a deep dive on the topic. I probably read it as well. I feel like there are some helpful forums there that kind of validated my entire experience with it.

Adeel [15:46]: Right. And since then, have you met other people who have misophonia? I'm curious kind of like how you talk about it, if you do talk about it.

Luis [15:55]: I do talk about it, but it's because I'm the only one that I know that has it. What do people say?

Adeel [16:05]: Like, what do your friends or co-workers say?

Luis [16:09]: So, yeah, when it comes to co-workers, I no longer talk about it. In this recent, you know, I've been working at this job since August of last year, and they have no idea. I just do not mention it because... In prior work experiences, I have explicitly mentioned I have misophonia. It was, you know, like in an email. There's no way to forget it. It's right there. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And even then, like, I try to... uh it was actually a work study program with my university and there were so many hurdles to go over in order to get reasonable accommodations like it was unreasonable how much you know how many hurdles and people you had to talk to um to simply get a letter that says, hey, this student needs this and this and that. There was just so much insensitivity toward the subject. Even after I stated, I cannot go to the office because of, you know, it was like, It was a very small office space and everybody just was in the same place. There were no, you know, private offices. There weren't even any cubicles. It was just like desks, one right next to the other. It was very open space. um and there was a lot a lot of chatter like it was a very like just a workplace sort of full of chatter boxes and that's just not me it's not my personality and not just that but it kind of you know it really um does not do me a service in terms of concentration and productivity And so I kind of tried to make that known, but there was just no positive response to that. You know, and I even had to move to a different kind of program. And basically it was the same situation, even though the point of moving was to be accommodated for my misophonia. But, you know, they said, no, you're, you know. The therapist at the time, he had written me a letter. It wasn't enough. I had to also get a psychiatric evaluation. I had to get a psychologist evaluation. All I got was like this temporary letter that lasted till the end of the semester. And, you know, that was about a year. Yeah, it was a year ago. And since then, I just decided not to, you know, proceed with anything with the process. Not just because I decided not to work there anymore, but because my classes are remote. That does help a lot. In that case, the triggers that you face aren't the ones that you face in the classroom, which is like a whole nother Pandora's box, but I guess the triggers that you face at home. I think there's this big importance as to what you face at home, because at this point, a lot of us just study and work from home. Um, but yeah, like that's kind of why I stopped with the, uh, you know, sharing this with my, with my workplace basically.

Adeel [19:20]: Yeah, that's unfortunate because, you know, I don't know what the rules are in Puerto Rico, but I think, yeah, I mean, it's part of the United States. So you think that there would be, you're entitled to reasonable accommodations to the Disability Act or any of these other forms. So hopefully that'll change. What about, like, friends? Do we talk about friends? Like, what do they kind of say?

Luis [19:42]: So friends, I don't know. It's kind of weird, you know. I... It's like this non-response, really. Like... Yeah. Yeah.

Adeel [19:53]: We know that all too well. Yeah, unfortunately.

Luis [19:56]: Yeah, it's like... I kind of... At first, I expected this, for whatever reason, just this wave of compassion, you know, kind of from, you know, my circle of friends. But I think... I don't know. It's just like talking about it is weird. It just feels weird. It feels like they don't really need to know this. It's kind of like an issue that I'm facing. I do make it aware. I guess I code it differently. Instead of flat out saying I have... misophonia or possibly hyperacusis, which is like a debate that I'm also having. But I what I say is like, hey, you know, noise gives me migraines. That's kind of how I phrase it. So I can't really go out much. I don't really like being in crowded places. And I do feel that, you know, my social circle is very limited because of that. My, you know, my I guess social life in general is also very limited. So the people that I do call friends, you know, it's like maybe one. And it's someone who I know, I don't have to even, you know, talk too much about it for them to understand, I guess. But yeah, the times where I flat out said I had misophonia, it's really like this... this lack of support, unfortunately. And I kind of learned to just accept it. Because after a while, it's almost like, well, I do feel like I'm in a different plane of existence as most people. So I don't really bother too much with, you know, making my friends understand, much less my family, really.

Adeel [21:46]: Right, right, right. Do they talk about other conditions like, you know, anxiety and depression, things like that?

Luis [21:52]: yeah that yeah for sure i think there's still like this openness i guess toward um mental health like i've had friends who say to me yeah i have depression i have adhd i have ocd i have borderline so they take that seriously those things seriously but not misophonia yeah that that is true that is true um even though um i do have anxiety at least maybe you know i do have generalized anxiety and um You know, I guess that's a good way to make myself relatable. I don't know. But when it comes to misophonia, yeah, no, it's like this entirely different subject.

Adeel [22:34]: You mentioned a family. How did they, what do they think? Do they think about it?

Luis [22:40]: Yeah, so... I had one, I mean, this is like the only time that it really happened. But this one family member, it's interesting because it kind of showed, you know, for some people, it just bringing up the subject for whatever reason, it shows their true colors. Like it was this bullying level of gaslighting, I guess. And just to the point that, you know what, I'm not going to, you know, talk with this person anymore at all you know like i just you know it's something that is so important to me that's affected me in a myriad of ways um but i felt that the response was you know you're just a cry baby basically that was the the the gist of the response yeah just man up grow up whatever um And, you know, I distinctly remember saying, you know, it feels like I'm sick or something like this misophonia, just like like I'm not OK, like I'm unwell. And, you know, this was coming. It was gold because it was coming from someone who themselves, they have their own, you know, struggles with mental health, but they weren't really compassionate with me in that sense. It was just like a big red flag that, yeah, just don't bother anymore with this person. And then with other members of the family, again, it's just non-support, really. Like the furthest... You know, I've gotten of support if it can be even called that way. It's like, oh, yeah, I looked it up. I looked up misophonia and you may have autism and you may have this or that and stuff like that. But it really doesn't go to a level where I actually feel supported or accommodated even. by the people around me. And, you know, it's like, I feel that it is reasonable to want that. But, you know, because of the response, it's like, oh, maybe I'm asking for too much here. And that's kind of why I just no longer bother with it. Occasionally, they'll ask me, hey, how's that going? But again, it's not this support that I... Yeah, right.

Adeel [25:03]: You might hear that, but I don't know. Even I, many people are like, well, do I bother getting into it? Because we'll just get gaslighted and shut down. At some point, we get to an age where we're like, well, we'll make that mental calculation. Is this worth the energy that I know it's going to suck out of me? who doesn't even want to get it. We're kind of the ugly duckling of mental health conditions, it seems like still. So you're definitely not alone. And, you know, you've got thousands of people listening who are nodding along. So there's a supportive community out there.

Luis [25:42]: Yeah, for sure.

Adeel [25:44]: Well, hopefully, I mean, but hopefully that will change. Hopefully that will not be static, but interesting. Okay. And so when you get, when you go to like, I don't know, family holidays and stuff, do you just kind of like, do you have kind of your coping methods that you're, or strategies that you, that you deal, that you, you know, do to kind of avoid situations or cope?

Luis [26:06]: I, you know, that's interesting because I, you know, you asked me, you know, what would be your coping mechanisms? And I don't feel like I have any. I don't think that I found any that work so far. The last family gathering I went to was like at a restaurant and it was just like hell, like hell. There were so many conversations happening. It was just such a noisy place. And there were like 20 of us. So the food took like more than an hour, you know, to come out. And not just that, but I couldn't, you know, get along with anybody really at an interpersonal level. So it just made me feel all the more alone, you know.

Adeel [26:54]: What do you mean by you couldn't get along? You just, did you feel like, sorry, I'm going to put myself in your shoes because I've probably been here before, but like, you know, this is obviously like on your mind and you just can't relate to anybody or they can't relate to you. And so when, you know, this is the thing that's hijacking your mind, is that kind of what you're thinking about or just, you know, don't have any hobbies in common, which is also another thing.

Luis [27:20]: Right. Yeah, no, not really. I mean, I feel that the conversations are just very superficial. Whenever I get asked about updates on my life, it's like, oh, how's school? How's your job? How's your car? And that's it. That's literally the only three questions that I get asked every time they see me. And it's funny because it's also the kind of people that say, hey, you should visit more often where, you know, where you go off to. Why don't you visit more often? And when I do try to, you know, reach out and kind of rekindle, it's really the same response. Like you might say that about me, but I am getting the same radio silence from the other end. And, you know, even when I make my issues related to health and misophonia and whatever known, it's still the same. It's like it didn't really change anything. So there's almost like this regret over having talked about it. Like now they know something about me that's very personal. But I shared it with the intention of there being a stronger bond, actually, and getting, you know, making them get to know myself better. Maybe they would understand why I avoid certain gatherings, why maybe I'm more like, you know, like in the corner and I don't really interact with a lot with the people there when I'm not really that way all the time, you know. So it's like they only get to know the masking version of me.

Adeel [28:55]: I don't know what to say to that I see that all the time too and it's just it just always boggles my mind and these days like if I so these days like and it happens to me at certain family events as well these days like if I don't this happened recently which I'm honestly still recovering from but if I don't if I don't prepare my mind for that in advance the ability to kind of set that boundary and just kind of like accept that this is going to be superficial I'm just like a zombie for the next few days. Right. So it's just like, I just can't because I'm just in shock that, you know. that um humans could uh just not have that sense even that like basic sense of empathy or curiosity that's another thing there's empathy curiosity validation if i can impart any kind of coping method which is good maybe beyond this phonia is just kind of just kind of like talk to yourself in advance and get it do that kind of like i don't know self-soothing that kind of helps them with sounds but then also i think in general uh human interaction Maybe like day to day when you go out and shopping in the world and stuff. Or even in your apartment, are you wearing any noise cancelling headphones and stuff to kind of not hear some of these sounds?

Luis [30:06]: Yeah, I think any public place that I go to, I make a point of it to put on music, really. I feel that music is such a savior. More so than the white noise, because the white noise, in my case, it can get irritating. If I'm exposed for a long time to it, But yeah, I'm basically just listening to my favorite tunes when I go out. And I feel that's more so when I'm alone. Like if I'm accompanied by someone that I like and trust, then I will really feel no need to use the coping mechanism. But if I am going out solo, then yeah, I will need to entertain myself, distract myself somehow. and just kind of, you know, make sure that it's music that helps with my mood, you know, like, oh, I enjoy listening to this. I could listen to this for years and, you know, and while I do like mundane stuff.

Adeel [31:08]: and um and you did so i mean i don't know if you've um used brown noise but that's a little less harsh noise if you have to go that route um which is kind of what i put underneath the each episode of the podcast is just kind of like a like a lower rumble which kind of helps mask certain sounds um

Luis [31:25]: Yeah, that's a good point.

Adeel [31:27]: Yeah, you can try that out. You mentioned hyperacusis. I'm curious, did you self-diagnose that? Or you said you were just kind of debating it. I'm curious how you think about those, misophonia and hyperacusis.

Luis [31:43]: Right. So, you know, since the beginning, I never even considered hyperacusis. That kind of came up more during an audiologist evaluation. I actually have been to two different audiologists in Puerto Rico. The first one was, you know... She basically said, yeah, your hearing is fine. You're good. But when I brought up the word misophonia, she like looked at me like she was scared, like, oh, my God, really? Like it was it was this very intense reaction that I, you know. I don't know, that made me feel validated somehow. And she what she did was basically, you know, recommend a psychiatric evaluation to rule out either ADHD or misophonia or something like that. So it's at the second interview, the second intervention that, you know. I'm basically told, yeah, you have some slight hearing loss over the past X or Y months. But we were like, the doctor was like, I was wondering, like, do you have misophonia or do you have hyperacusis? And he kind of made the distinction of misophonia being an irritation or some sort of trigger to the quality of a sound or... I guess the source of the sound if I'm not mistaken whereas hyperacusis is more how you perceive the sounds in terms of volume and he basically gave me that to go off um you know and really I I can't tell like sometimes it is the sound sometimes you know the sound itself sometimes it is that I perceive it too loud or that the sound is very very loud um yeah And even if the sound is quiet, it still has the possibility of kind of giving me a misophonia flare-up. So, yeah, I might have both. That's also, I think, a possibility. So that's where I'm at, just kind of noticing symptoms of both and really... uh i guess making it more a point of the of the misophonia i think because i i can relate a lot more to other people's experiences regarding that than with hyperacusis um but yeah i i feel like i have my uh a shade of of both yeah i know you definitely obviously like you could have both but the way i think about hyperacusis is yeah it's more a volume perception like everything kind of

Adeel [34:24]: seems louder misophonia is more about the um could be more contextual a little bit more subjective maybe it depends on the person or the context uh but it's definitely more a fight or flight yeah i think i don't think a hybrid is quite that like fighter like you don't feel under attack like you feel in danger a part of you feels like it's in danger so i think that that aspect is what is what makes it misophonia um have you talked to any other kind of professionals about about misophonia

Luis [34:56]: Yeah, I guess there was some therapeutic, just like kind of talk therapy interventions that went on for a while. But yeah, we mainly talked about coping strategies. You know, it didn't really go any deeper than that.

Adeel [35:12]: Right, right, right, right. What kind of coping strategies did you get suggested?

Luis [35:17]: The main one I remember is writing down something like, remember that it's okay, like you're not in danger, like it's just the condition. Pretty good. Yeah, put it up on your mirror or your desk whenever you feel that way, which I admit I have not tried, but I still...

Adeel [35:34]: keep it in mind i know it's hard to it's hard to remember these things but you know sometimes that's sometimes that's actually just better to kind of maybe keep it in mind then you don't have to you know run home to the mirror kind of thing i try to remember to do that is to try to prep myself in advance um because yeah i don't know for me that is a big part of it that's hard it's hard to remember in advance and then it's almost impossible during a trigger to try to think about anything other than the trigger but yeah

Luis [36:02]: Yeah, that's what I was just thinking. Whenever I get that fight or flight kind of reaction, I block out everything, any possibility of getting out of that place, which I know is something I have to work on. But, you know, I guess my narrative... A lot of us have that problem.

Adeel [36:22]: It's not an easy thing to... It's a good thing to try to work on. It's not an easy thing to solve.

Luis [36:27]: Yeah, agreed. I do try to change my narrative, but truly what I think what ultimately works is because I feel that when I hear something coming, like I can expect a sound or as I'm hearing it, like I feel the need to just leave, go back into my room. Um, like, um, the place where I live right now, I literally don't, I only have like a bedroom. I, I, I decided purposefully like not to furnish my living room area because that is a place where a lot of the triggers, I mean, really the only place, I mean, What am I saying? Like today I was in my bedroom, even with the noise, with the white noise and the air conditioner, and I still heard all the sounds that I don't like. But that's like one in a million. I feel like it's the first time that something like that has happened. But all the other times it's been like in the kitchen, my living room, even in my bathroom. So, you know, it's like the possibilities of getting triggered in my own home are so high that I just decide Like, I'm not even going to find a way to make this work. All I know is that I need to find a place where I can meet my own needs. There was this apartment situation that I lived for like a very brief time, but it was, you know, so peaceful and so quiet. And so, I guess, soundproof, like not purposefully soundproof, but, you know, it was just, I guess, designed in such a way that it was very private. And I even forgot that I had misophonia. I realized, oh, I don't have to deal with this anymore. I'm so glad that that's a thing. It didn't last very long. And then the misophonia came back up. So, you know, I again, I try to challenge my narrative that I can make this work, that I can find the the coping mechanisms and the like. But ultimately, I think that. It's a quality of life thing. Like it goes beyond, you know, just, you know, because I have used coping mechanisms and they work from time to time. But for me, it's not like a solution, you know, 100% of the time. Sometimes I think about it and I'm like, you know, noise canceling headphones, they help, but they're not exactly medical devices. I'm not sure if this is actually damaging me more than I think it is. So I kind of feel that until I have something, which I know is a lot to ask, but until I have something that guarantees that the misophonia won't flare up, then I'll feel better or I'll feel safe again. And yeah, I feel that just having a trigger-free home environment, work environment, all of that is just essential, at least to me.

Adeel [39:16]: Yeah, you're right. There's a lot of pros and cons, even with noise-canceling headphones. At least with noise-canceling headphones, I feel like you don't have to have the audio on as loud because you're blocking out the other sound. So hopefully that helps a bit.

Luis [39:30]: Yeah.

Adeel [39:31]: I thought you were going to say you don't furnish your apartment so that you can make it easier to get the hell out of another apartment or something.

Luis [39:40]: That's also true.

Adeel [39:42]: Are there certain things that you now look for when you're going to apartment hunt? Maybe, like, being on the top floor or, I don't know, concrete materials or something? Or do you, like, spy on the neighbors?

Luis [39:56]: Yeah, at this point, I... I feel that I've become a lot pickier as to that. When I first saw my current apartment listing, I knew that there would be a neighbor right next door. Even then, I guess I was maybe naive to an extent because I was like, no, this isn't going to be a problem. in theory i don't mind having someone live right next to me i don't see why that should be an issue but when you realize that they're always on their speakerphone that they have a lot of people over and that the um you know my window my kitchen window you know right behind is is the entrance to his apartment and it blocks zero sound it's basically this hole in the wall um So I, you know, it's like I did not expect that. I also did not think at the time that was like two years ago, I didn't think that I had to design my life around misophonia. I thought I would be fine. So right now, yeah, I avoid at all costs apartment complexes, whether it's top floor, bottom floor, like any kind of apartment building. um i do think of you know just like a solid house like a good house um you know ideally um where um you know nothing comes in or very very very little comes in i don't know that's like as far as i've gotten as to what i what i want yeah yeah yeah i wonder i mean that makes me think i wonder if there are uh

Adeel [41:36]: architects who are thinking about playing out some maybe templates or plans that can be open sourced and reused, maybe some best practices, you know, other than building a nuclear bunker, like practical things. Yeah, that's an interesting project I'll maybe ask on social media. Actually, that makes me curious, kind of like, what was your house like growing up? Like, were there a lot, did you have a lot of siblings? Was it kind of noisy? I know you didn't have symptoms, but I'm just kind of curious what your home life was growing up.

Luis [42:13]: Um, no, I feel that it was. No, I don't think it was very noisy at all. I feel that maybe it was a bit too quiet, actually. And no, I mean, I grew up with people in the house, but not really with like siblings or anything like that. I did, you know, when I hung out with my friends from the neighborhood, it wasn't like this issue. I never experienced like any kind of issue with my hearing so no i i don't remember i i only remember like practicing the piano and feeling maybe more angry and angrier and triggered than i should have if i pressed the wrong note or something like because i i did grow up um studying piano when I was a teenager. And when I think about that particular experience, I always wanted to pursue music, but for whatever reason, and maybe this did have something to do with misophonia, I decided not to pursue it as a field, as a college career, because the idea of auditioning in front of people made me nervous. You know, anytime I played at a gathering, like my wrist would shake, my leg would shake. It would be this, you know, unpleasant experience that would lead me to think, OK, I love music a lot. I'd love to do that for a living. But if it makes me feel this way, why even do it? Why even bother? So that is what I do remember in my, you know, home life and growing up and maybe not so much hearing, but definitely touch sensitivity that I still have. Like I, certain textures make my tongue go dry or feel dry or my teeth like feel weird. I don't know how to explain it, but certain... textures like filing my nails or like my shirt uniform or my backpack when I went to school, it would give me this really, really bad feeling like this overload of, you know, I don't know, at the touch of it. And I I just. had no words to express that to anybody like i i didn't know what was going on i might have might have even thought oh this must be normal um but i still felt like something weird was happening especially when i would like practice music

Adeel [44:40]: Yeah, that's interesting because I want to ask you about visual triggers that come up a lot as well. But I do strongly think that this is not just about sound. There's a greater sensory... I mean, I know there's a lot of names for different sensory disorders, but I feel like there's more of a... Yeah, some of us are more sensitive to... Well... through our senses and it could be kind of something evolutionary that it could kind of have developed over time where certain segments of the population need to be more sensitive to certain things whether it's sound touch or whatever to kind of protect species yeah there's something that kind of like you know something i've lived on longer than it needed to or it's just it's kind of how we are and some of us are meant to be that kind of warning um for society. But what about visual triggers? Is that something that you've noticed as well?

Luis [45:39]: Yeah, I don't know if to call it a trigger. I mean, I think it is when I think about it, but I would describe it as kind of a disgust or like this, I guess it's this feeling of discomfort. I don't know.

Adeel [46:00]: Like a cringe fight or flight? Because yeah, for a lot of us, if I see certain things, it does give me a very similar fight or flight situation.

Luis [46:09]: Yeah, I feel that a lot with media, especially advertisements. Like I would have to mute my TV or look away when an advertisement comes on because I feel like they use all these visual effects to manipulate I guess what you're seeing reality. I don't know. Like they make impossible things happen. And it's this weird feeling of this isn't what is what am I looking at? Like things coming to life or animals talking, you know, stuff like that, that. I feel that it's not like I know that it's not real, but it's like, why do this? There's this questioning that I, for whatever reason, I have. Like, what is the point of this? What do you gain from this? What are you feeding people with this? Like, I don't know. It's like... I feel like it induces to kind of stretching out your imagination. I really don't know where I'm going with this, but I do feel this feel to look away. And of course, it happens a lot with sound. I feel like they're so high quality. They are so, I guess, meticulous with the kinds of sounds they use, with the sounds that they choose to highlight in any given piece of media that I don't, you know, I would rather just not consume that kind of stuff.

Adeel [47:35]: that's really interesting um because that is something that i've also mentioned on the podcast and and kind of like you i'm like i'm not sure exactly where it's going but it's it's you know i actually read it from a book i'm looking at right now called the eyes of the skin where um it's an architectural essay but it one of the points it makes is that our society like i'm talking like even the last few hundred years is so focused on the visual the visual is is um you know our visual senses are uh equated with intelligence and now our everything's so artificial and pre-packaged in terms of what you see in commercials or even like yeah i mean i have an audio background like i know that every piece of sound is mixed and processed and mastered in a certain way which is not real even though it sounds kind of real um so yeah i wonder if some of that is just um you know some of us are predisposed to being extra sensitive to certain things are really picking up on that and not liking it yeah

Luis [48:39]: Yeah, I feel that way with music sometimes, knowing that, you know, acoustic instruments can now be imitated by any kind of digital, I guess, like synthesizers and stuff like that. And I don't know, like, I feel like I'm also very picky with that. Like if it's a kind of keyboard sound or synth. sound that i just don't like or some sort of chord progression or melody or whatever i will not enjoy that piece of music or the drum beats or if it's too fast if it's too slow if it makes me feel a certain way i will actively yeah just be careful in general with what i listen to but i will find myself constantly listening to the same stuff that i really really like

Adeel [49:23]: Yeah, that's weird. I'm kind of the same way. I do listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but when a certain album comes out or something from someone I'm really looking forward to, I'll have it on repeat weeks later. Yeah, super cool. Do you still play music? You did play piano a while ago, for fun even.

Luis [49:48]: Um, no, because just just because currently, I don't I don't feel like I have a studio space to do that. I don't feel like I have the means or resources. I think it's more resources issue or, you know, that not wanting to do it anymore. Right, right. I will occasionally, I guess, you know, work on my, what's it called, like a DAW.

Adeel [50:11]: Oh yeah, digital audio, like a music recording software. Do you write music or is it more just a software sensor stuff?

Luis [50:23]: Yeah, it's like very seldom. But, you know, the stuff that I do write, if I really like something, then I will obsess with it. If I don't know what I'm doing, then I don't. You know, because there's also a lot of, I think it's also like a... knowledge thing like i have to learn more about it but um i have made music in the past and um you know i feel uh i guess uh i guess confident about what i'm doing but there is a lot of i guess um aspects of the misophonia that factor into the possibility of making music in the future. Like, is my music going to be misophonia informed, so to speak? I don't know. Yeah, just kind of factoring in the misophonia into whatever art I create.

Adeel [51:13]: What do you mean by misophonia informed?

Luis [51:16]: Well, I guess it kind of goes on the lines of what I said before. Like if there's a particular synth or instrument that I don't like how it sounds, then I will make sure that what I make, if I'm in that process, is not triggering to me or possibly to other people with misophonia. But it's interesting because I could do it with that in mind. But it could still trigger someone with misophonia because everybody experienced it so differently.

Adeel [51:47]: Right, right, right. Gotcha. Cool. No, super interesting. But yeah, I mean, we're getting close to an hour. Covered a lot of interesting ground. And yeah, it's super, super interesting. Very relatable to myself. I'm sure a lot of people listening. Anything else you want to share with people about your experiences or otherwise with misophonia?

Luis [52:17]: I guess one last point would be just kind of being into spirituality. I don't know if that's a thing for people with misophonia. But just basically, you know, I'm not the most spiritual. There's a lot of it that I do need to learn. But I feel that, I don't know, I think there might be something spiritual to the misophonia that we don't understand. And I don't know, I think of misophonia through those lens because sometimes science doesn't know how to explain it or it's just or maybe it does know how to do it. And, you know, there's so much research I've been interviewed by researchers and it's been so validating and helpful to contribute in that way and to feel heard as well. But sometimes I just go beyond that and kind of think of it in terms of just. you know, having a limited time in the world and kind of, you know, I think that, you know, it's cliche, but meditating and just focusing on the things that really bring you peace and stuff like that. I think that's just a way that I try to make spirituality work for me in a way that's not disingenuous, like, you know, trying to find a way that it actually works for me.

Adeel [53:35]: Yeah, so using spiritual practice to kind of calm your nervous system, calm your mind a little bit.

Luis [53:42]: Yeah, exactly.

Adeel [53:43]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I mean, that's something I think a lot of us try to do. And I think that's kind of part of my, you know, when I'm thinking, when I'm talking about self-soothing, I feel like I'm trying to do that with a little bit more, yeah, more purposeful intention as opposed to the kind of some of the mainstream superficial generic understanding of... meditation which is just like you know close your eyes yeah i think you're thinking of something a little bit deeper um and i totally agree and yeah that's kind of one of the i don't know one of the few positives about misophonia is that it's kind of open at least my mind to some of that thinking

Luis [54:21]: Yeah, exactly. I feel that the way that I choose to lead my life and the philosophy that I have toward life, I think a lot of it is, funnily enough, informed by misophonia. And I don't know, I feel like it helps me also become a better person in a lot of ways.

Adeel [54:39]: Yeah, so that's come up a lot where misophonia has kind of like opened up. many people's eyes to new levels of empathy. Especially when you're seeing the opposite of empathy in the people who you expect empathy from.

Luis [54:55]: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That hurts, I think, a little bit more than, you know, any random person that you come across. But I feel that it still says a lot about, I guess, the state of the world. And I don't know, it can really be overwhelming sometimes. Yeah.

Adeel [55:12]: Yes, I think I know where you're going. I think many of us would agree with that.

Luis [55:18]: Yeah.

Adeel [55:18]: Yeah. No, that's super cool. Let's maybe just leave, I could talk about this for a long time, but maybe let's leave it on that kind of like spiritual sentiment, not a sentimental note. But yeah, Luis, this is great to talk to you, great to finally connect with you. And yeah, thanks for coming on. A lot of fascinating things we talked about.

Luis [55:39]: Yeah, of course. Thank you so much. I think this is such a great space to express yourself, make this known, and relate to other people, hopefully.

Adeel [55:48]: Thank you again, Luis. So many things I relate to in this episode. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you're listening to this podcast. You can hit me up by email at hello at or go to the website, It's even easier to send a message on Instagram at Misophonia Podcast. Follow there on Facebook and on X or Twitter. It's Misophonia Show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at slash Misophonia Podcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.