Terminology: "ADD" became part of "ADHD" with the DSM-IV (we are now up to V). "ADD" is called "ADHD - Predominantly Inattentive Type," the thing you probably think of as "ADHD" is called "ADHD - Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type," and there's a third type called "ADHD - Combined Type." These are all three "ADHD." The term "ADD" is typically used by people who have Inattentive Type, but it is also used as shorthand by people who have either of the other two types. If you think you have all three types, you probably actually have Combined Type, since the whole point of that label is to explain people who have symptoms of both of the other two types. [**We usually leave out the "Predominantly" part of the full name.**]
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I know that lots of people with ADHD have misophonia, but I feel like it’s also possible to have sound-related sensitivity issues with ADHD without necessarily having misophonia. Like, I don’t have trouble with most common incidental noise that isn’t loud. But I can’t think clearly, read, or write if there’s talking, or music within hearing range, simply because I can’t filter it out. And my synesthesia things make certain normal pitches/types of sounds really physically uncomfortable. Examples of this:
- Metal things hitting metal things, or other hard stuff, like metal silverware hitting a plate loudly, feels like the air in me and around me is getting violently torn to pieces. Or, when the sound is clearer/quieter, it’s like everything’s getting sliced open.
- Accidental flat notes in music literally feel flat, confining, like the sound is a person and they’re talking with their nose plugged, or someone’s pushed their head below water.
- Accidental sharp notes are sharp, and break through at the top of the sound; like sound is writing on something flimsy, but their pen accidentally rips through it. And sound was writing on paper in my ear and so then it’s like “Ow! Don’t poke me there.”
- Lots of drilling/scraping sounds, feel as if my hands/skin are having to scrape down whatever rough surface is involved. Drawing with sidewalk chalk is a disgusting sound/texture combination on a variety of levels. I hate basically everything about sidewalk chalk.
- And so on, and so on. I just physically simulate whatever the contact the sound implies, which is really freaky sometimes. The metal-reverberating-impact sounds, particularly, feel painful and terrifying.
And so sometimes sounds make me feel uncomfortable because I feel them physically. And then other times, sounds interfering with my ability to think, talk, read, or write trigger my hella low frustration tolerance and make me really, really agitated. People randomly deciding to have a conversation nearby when I’m trying to read makes me want to scream. So I’d definitely say that my sound problems are related to my ADHD, but I’m under the impression that neither the synesthesia nor the processing/frustration are the same thing as misophonia? Is that accurate?
It sounds accurate to me.
I don’t have synaesthesia, but I do have auditory discrimination and filtering problems, and I do distinguish between my misophonia and general “noise is making it hard to think” irritation.
Misophonia is usually triggered by really specific sounds. My biggest one is eating (anything; the sounds of people chewing, even soft foods, raise my anxiety levels to beyond bearable).
But there’s also that thing where auditory filtering just doesn’t work, and I can’t keep others’ conversations from distracting me, or I can’t choose which sounds to focus on. That makes me irritable and frustrated, but not anxious the way my misophonia triggers do.
Does that help clarify things a bit?