Misophonia is not an extremely well recognized condition, and this can make it a little difficult to get the understanding and support you need from others. When it comes to the world of work, this has the potential to become a very serious issue for all involved.
Experiencing fear, discomfort, anger or even rage when triggered by particular sounds, can lead to some pretty anti-social and inappropriate responses, so those living with this condition need to develop some useful coping strategies to use at work, or they may find it almost intolerable to stay in employment.
You may need to gently educate your supervisor and colleagues about the condition as it is not as well known as many other health and medical issues. Supplying them with some pamphlets which explain misophonia in simple terms will help others support you properly.
Few people want a lifelong condition to define them, so it’s best to avoid talking about it non-stop. Once those around you are aware of the main issues, you are much more able to manage things like: working in a busy or open plan style office while wearing noise-cancelling headphones without looking rude, or choosing to sit at the very back of a large group gathering to allow for an easy and fast escape if necessary.
Take Enough Breaks
If you work set hours, it is worth asking if your breaks can be divided into smaller sections of time you can then take more often. During this down time, try to carve out space where you can relax alone if you feel the need.
Have a Few Distractions on Hand
It is important to have a few ‘go to’ emergency distraction provisions in your desk to use as soon as you feel a trigger situation approaching. Whatever works for you is fine, so consider things like a Rubik’s Cube, or doodling material. Or you can do something more work orientated, such as sorting a desk drawer, or tidying up your email inbox. Those who work outdoors could try counting trees or looking at landscapes for something they never noticed before.
It’s not always easy to make things work when trying to manage misophonia and a job, but planning and preparation definitely help make it possible.
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