Listening with Misophonia

Tackling misophonia holistically and from an artistic background, the workshop ‘Listening with Misophonia’ conveys methods of conscious listening. They aim at coping with the disorder in constructive and active ways, so that persons affected may react more calmly and reflect what’s happening when being triggered.

illustration: Peter Kisur

Since 2021, I know to be affected by misophonia. The disorder, which manifests itself in childhood, was first described around 2000 and is characterized by sometimes fierce reactions towards certain sounds – they are perceived as attacks.

Triggers such as whispering, a certain tone of voice when talking on the phone in public, or situations with children playing have now and again triggered stress of varying intensity for me. With the knowledge of my misophonia, however, I no longer feel defenceless against such noise attacks and can react to them in a more relaxed way.

The ability to do so, seems to me to be grounded in a form of conscious listening, and would thus be a concrete application of R. Murray Schafer’s suggestion to think about accompanying circumstances associated with sounds. The founder of the soundscape movement propagated listening as a source of knowledge – as did Pauline Oliveros with her concept of deep listening.

A grant from Berlin based Musikfonds e.V. for the summer/fall of 2022 enables me to learn more about misophonia. In order to find out whether it’s also possible for others to improve their way to deal with the disorder, I’ve been developing a workshop program of six units. It introduces new perspectives on listening, provides material for further reading or listening, and encourages practising.

All units will get documented here on Sounds Central. To enter the discussion, please refer to the Facebook group Listening with Misophonia.

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