Today for instance, I came early to the donut shop where my meeting group regularly meets to try and snag a table for the group. (Saturday mornings are very popular for families to come enjoy a sweet ringed treat with the kiddies.) The first thing I did when I walked in the door was try to scope out a table that would be large enough for the group. It was so packed with families when I arrived, but I was lucky to find the one four-seater table right next to the door. Without missing a beat, I specifically chose a chair that faced the door, and which would keep my view away from the numerous visual triggers that I would have experienced by fidgeting/restless kids had I been seated facing the main seating area.
It still wasn't a perfect situation though... I hadn't put my earplugs in yet so it felt like my ears were being stabbed when a mother expressed love to the toddler in her arms by loudly kissing the toddler on the cheek. Then I got hit with another trigger by a little five-year old boy whistling with a high-pitched tune. For some reason, I find that kids whistle a lot - perhaps because they are intrigued by the sound they're able to make. In those situations, I know better than to approach the child. I only approach a parent if the sound is so piercing that it goes through my earplugs/earbuds but even then, it's rare that I do it... Some times when I have expressed my comfort by a child's whistling, the parent gives me a dagger stare like how dare I complain about their perfect child. It's just not worth it to me...
There are times when I do feel comfortable expressing my discomfort in public situations though and the results are more positive. I mentioned about taking the little box of gum from a reception desk's candy bowl as a trigger preventative action and when I explained why I did it to one of my sales rep friends, he was not only intrigued about misophonia and wanted to learn more, since then we've had very interesting discussions about my experiences.
I also once told the travel agent who handles my company's flight/hotel reservations about my misophonia - mainly because she wanted to help me select my seats for upcoming flights. I explained to her about my misophonia and even my thought process when looking at a seat map. E.g. Will the seat be too close to the galley area where the constant sounds of the flight attendants opening soda cans will trigger me? Are both seats taken behind a potential seat for me or only one seat, with the seat next to it being empty? If both the seats are taken (or even all three seats in a three seat row), then to me that means that a couple/family/or even two people who know each other well want to sit together - which means they'll likely be talking during the entire flight. If only one of the seats are taken, then most likely the people sitting in that row will not know each other and will be less likely to want to hold a long conversation during the flight. (Mind you, that logic doesn't always work because some times people who may not know each other could still spark a long conversation, but that scenario is much less likely to happen).
Ever since I told the travel agent my misophonia trigger mitigation logic, she tries to keep that reasoning in mind but unless I don't have access to the seat map before my flight, more often than not I'll still check to see if there may be potential better seat options. Sometimes it's just looking at the situation and gauging the feeling in your gut... Trying to avoid triggers in public places is never going to be a perfect situation. All I can do is be proactive with managing my comfort levels as best as I can.