What is Hyperacusis?

Until you experience hearing loss, it’s difficult to imagine just how many different ways it can affect your life. Hearing loss can also affect people differently, depending on the severity and type of hearing loss.

For some people, a surprising impact of hearing loss can be an increased sensitivity to sounds. This sensitivity can cause pain and discomfort. Some people will have issues with sounds, others will not. This hearing loss condition is known as hyperacusis.

What is Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a hearing loss condition that results in everyday noises sound louder than they should. If you notice that normal sounds you would hear every day are suddenly louder, you may be experiencing hyperacusis. For some people, hearing certain noises may actually be painful.

People with hyperacusis can experience it in different ways. For some, hyperacusis is just a minor inconvenience. For others, it can be extremely hard to live with. People who experience extreme sensitivity to certain sounds may isolate themselves from social interactions.

What Causes Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis can have a number of different causes. Exposure to sudden loud noise can sometimes trigger hyperacusis. Hyperacusis can also be an accompanying symptom to certain medical conditions. If you’re experiencing sensitivity to certain sounds, it’s worth seeking a medical opinion.

Medical conditions that can cause hyperacusis include: 

  • Migraines
  • Lyme disease
  • Head trauma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Acoustic shock

What Are The Symptoms of Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis can occur suddenly, or happen over time. The common symptoms of hyperacusis include:

  • Quiet sounds do not cause discomfort. However, everyday sounds (such as two people having a conversation) seem very loud or distorted.
  • Your voice sounds distorted or too loud.
  • Sounds of a lower intensity, such as the hum of your refrigerator, sound too loud.
  • Sudden, loud noises can cause discomfort and / or pain.

In addition, loud noises may: 

  • Worsen tinnitus
  • Worsen distortion of sounds
  • Worsen your hyperacusis for a period of time
  • Cause you to experience a popping sensation in your ear

In some circumstances, ear pain may also be a symptom of hyperacusis. 

How Is Hyperacusis Treated?

Treatment for hyperacusis depends on the underlying cause. Because there are a number of causes of hyperacusis, seeking a medical opinion is wise. In some cases, your primary physician may refer you to a hearing healthcare practitioner.

Sound therapy is one potential treatment option for hyperacusis. Sound therapy involves gradual re-introduction of certain sounds. This can help desensitize sufferers to certain sounds that trigger their hyperacusis.

In some cases, your hearing healthcare practitioner may opt to treat your hyperacusis with hearing aids. The hearing healthcare specialists at Anderson Audiology will be glad to discuss your options. Call the team today on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.

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