What is Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a potentially debilitating hearing ailment that impacts roughly one out of every 50,000 people worldwide. Beltone Audiology, a hearing care company devoted to helping individuals maximize their audio capabilities.

Hyperacusis Defined

Individuals stricken with this ailment possess a significant insensitivity to various sounds. Many people experience hearing difficulties or discomfort when exposed to excessively loud sounds like concerts or jet engines. However, those with hyperacusis also may experience problems coping with typical, everyday sounds. Physicians and hearing loss professionals opine that this condition is not hereditary or congenital but develops gradually following a person’s birth.

Causes of Hyperacusis

Audiologists and other medical professionals suggest that the root cause of hyperacusis is the brain misinterpreting certain sounds and translating them to the ears in a louder and more violent manner than usual. That said, the onset of the disease is typically triggered by some type of ear damage or ailment.

Common precipitating factors can include the cumulative effects of ear infections, ear or head trauma, epilepsy, migraine headache conditions, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), vertigo, jaw or neck injuries and the use of certain medications. In other instances, exposure to loud noises might trigger the condition’s onset.

Symptoms

The primary physical manifestation experienced by those afflicted with hyperacusis is an extreme intolerance to specific sounds. Naturally, loud noises cause the most discomfort. However, typical, common sounds like telephone rings or normal conversational tones spoken by individuals sharing a conversation could also trigger an attack. Hyperacusis can also cause incidents of mild hearing loss, pain, headaches, anxiety, frustration and anger. Additionally, those stricken might also experience tinnitus, which is a chronic, continual loud ringing in the ears.

Moreover, hyperacusis can yield serious personal and social difficulties. Individuals diagnosed with the condition might express significant reluctance to travel, partake in activities they once enjoyed, avoid certain environments and experience major challenges performing routine tasks.

Potential Treatment Options

Specific treatment protocols will depend upon the ailment’s specific underlying cause. In many cases, a hyperacusis diagnosis is confirmed by specifically physicians like audiologists or otolaryngologists, which are also often referred to as earn, nose and throat specialists. Said professionals will perform through examination of the patient’s ears, neck, throat and head. Occasionally, specific diagnostic tests might also be indicated.

If the condition is caused by a specific illness, treating hyperacusis with medications or other therapies might alleviate or eliminate the associated hyperacusis. However, when such causes are not deemed to be the culprit, stricken persons might benefit from a process known as retraining or sound therapy in which patients retrain their brains and ears to cope with a variety of sounds.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with or fear they might have hyperacusis, the professional staff of hearing care professionals at Beltone Audiology can help. For more information about the many programs and services our company offers, call us at (888) 210-5846.