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Gender and Ethnic Differences in Sound Tolerance

Nicole Concepcion, Depts. of Psychology, Social Work, and Human Resource Management, and Rachel Wallace, M.S., Dept. of Psychology Graduate Student, with Dr. Scott Vrana, Dept. of Psychology

Misophonia, hyperacusis, and tinnitus are related to decreased sound tolerance (DST). Misophonia is characterized as strong aversive reactions to specific sounds. Hyperacusis is a heightened sensitivity to certain sounds below the loudness sensitivity levels. Tinnitus is a condition that includes continuous ringing or buzzing in the ears. Current research has shown that misophonia symptoms have many commonalities with psychiatric diagnoses and these symptoms result in substantial functional disability and lower quality of life. In the growing literature, there are some questions that need to be answered. The questions sought to be answered in this study are: what is the prevalence of the DST conditions? Are there any significant ethnic and gender differences for those who endorse misophonia, hyperacusis, or tinnitus? Can these differences be corroborated by current health items, like anxiety? To answer these questions, a large scale survey (n= 1,200) was examined by conducting chi-square, independent samples t-test, and ANOVA analyses. The findings indicate there were significant gender and racial differences among hyperacusis and misophonia. Women reported more negative responses towards misophonia and hyperacusis. This is consistent with the past findings that women report higher anxiety. White participants endorsed all DST conditions more than any other group. These findings promote further research.

Publication Date


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Scott Vrana, Ph.D.


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


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Gender and Ethnic Differences in Sound Tolerance