Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

A typical day with misophonia

Imagine what it’s like to be forced to endure the typical office environment when you have misophonia (selective sound sensitivity syndrome). It’s a neurological disorder whose prevalence is unknown and for which there is no known cure. However, it’s regarded as more common than previously thought.

To an extent I know what it’s like as the high-pitched sounds of certain yappy little dog breeds never fail to drive me into a hulk-like rage. However, the sounds of the usual light-hearted social chatter that happens throughout the day in an office setting (pleasant though the subject matter often is) are not just wearying to me as an introvert. At the end of each day, I notice an indescribable internal pain which is relieved only by silence.

I find that long-term use of ear plugs or having to blast sounds one prefers to hear in order to block out other sounds isn’t the way to go for health-related reasons. Those who follow my blog know what I’m about to say. This is yet another reason to grant workers more control over their working environments. If providing isolated offices isn’t a viable alternative due to the price tag associated with space then a remote work arrangement may be the answer.

Read “A typical day with misophonia” to discover how different someone else’s experience of typical work environments can be. This post by Emlyn Altman also provides an excellent description of what it’s like to have misophonia and endure the sounds in the typical workplace.

Haunted by everyday noises

Disclaimer: Suffering exists in this world in many different forms. On this blog, I will share what it is like to live with misophonia. I have loved ones with cancer. Loved ones with crippling addictions and other sturggles. I am in no way saying that my life is worse than anyone else’s. Life can be a challenge for every creature on this planet, and my story is just one example of that.

Today I went to work. As I walked out my front door, I checked once more that I had at least one pair of earplugs on me. As I got on the subway, I made sure my iPod was blasting music. I sat down to notice a woman facing my direction on the car was chewing gum. I looked down at my lap to avoid seeing her chomp down over and over again. Soon it was my stop…

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4 responses to “A typical day with misophonia

  1. cindy knoke February 3, 2015 at 5:19 am

    The fact that working in these germ collecting, unhealthy, non-productive, capitalist created office environments makes you ill, clarifies why we get along.
    I didn’t realize, who does, except you apparently, how unhealthy these environments were for everyone until I left them permanently for the empty, natural spaces.
    It was like, “Oh, now I get it.”
    Leave your offices people. They are making you sick.
    You are remarkable.
    Thank you Lynn. You learned this stuff far earlier in your life than I did.

    • Lynn Patra February 3, 2015 at 5:28 am

      Thank you so much Cindy! 🙂 Yeah, the move to save $ by getting everyone into an open-plan office (with cubicle walls coming down) has made spreading germs and illness so much easier too. And there’s also the increase in noise pollution of course to add to the stress. I long for remote work to become more accepted so that those of us who want to go work in a beautiful, healthy setting (like our backyards perhaps?) can do this!

      • cindy knoke February 3, 2015 at 5:34 am

        I hope you succeed! It is important.

        • Lynn Patra February 3, 2015 at 5:50 am

          Yes, I think the difference individuals, like myself, can make is to introduce the idea that we don’t need to be “sardined” in offices to those who hadn’t thought about it. From there, the idea will one day, hopefully, become popular. Unfortunately, at this time, I’ve found that even the most established consultants in this area don’t see much business so I think there’s the matter of fostering genuine demand. I think it’ll eventually have to happen though. As our population grows, widening our freeways and building more buildings to the point where this totally takes over the natural world wouldn’t work out very well. That’s for sure!

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