What is Hyperacusis?


Hyperacusis is a hearing-related condition that results in an excessive sensitivity to specific auditory stimuli. Commonly, it manifests as an acute sensitivity to otherwise commonplace sounds, such as running water, or a heightened vulnerability to loud and sudden noises that may cause physical discomfort. Additionally, hyperacusis may cause individuals to perceive their own voice as being excessively loud, exacerbating the condition’s debilitating effects.

What are the Causes And Treatments Of Hyperacusis?

The ramifications of hyperacusis extend beyond the physical, as individuals with the condition may experience a marked reduction in their quality of life, including social isolation and depression. Dodging social situations due to the dread of being exposed to discomfort-inducing sounds may become commonplace, leading to a loss of social networks and a diminished sense of belonging. Understanding the impacts of hyperacusis and fostering a supportive environment for those who experience it is crucial to those in need.

What can cause Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis, a disorder characterized by a raised sensitivity to sound, can be attributed to a range of etiological factors. These include, but are not limited to, head injuries, viral infections, prolonged exposure to high levels of noise, certain medications, autoimmune disorders, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, and stress. It is, therefore, essential to undertake a thorough assessment of the underlying causes of hyperacusis to facilitate the development of effective treatment plans.

What are the Symptoms?

Individuals with hyperacusis may experience discomfort, extreme loudness, pain, or fear in response to sounds that others may consider normal. These sounds may range in intensity from mildly irritating to severe enough to cause balance issues or even seizures.

Other symptoms of hyperacusis may include:

• Ringing in the ears
• Pain in or around the ears
• Feelings of pressure or fullness in the ears

The presence of persistent and unpleasant auditory issues can lead to an overwhelming feeling of misery and discomfort, which can exacerbate pre-existing mental health concerns and impede one’s ability to engage in social activities. The constant experience of feeling overwhelmed by these intense sounds can trigger a cascade of negative emotions, further impacting one’s overall quality of life. Therefore, it is crucial to address this issue proactively to mitigate any potential harm to one’s mental and social health.

What Treatment Methods Are Available?

If you are experiencing hyperacusis and hearing loss or tinnitus, hearing aids can effectively treat it. Tinnitus programs can also teach your brain to focus away from the ringing and retrain your ears to tolerate sound. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also aid in addressing stress and can help you cope with your reactions to loud sounds. If you suddenly find everyday sound unbearable, it is necessary to contact your doctor or audiologist immediately to discuss how they can help you.

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