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Sensitive Ears: Hyperacusis

Sensitive Ears: Hyperacusis

Are some people’s ears more sensitive than others? Hyperacusis is one form of sensitive hearing.

It is true that some people have more sensitive ears than others. While there are several types of hearing sensitivity, perhaps the most prominent of them is hyperacusis. Although it is rare, affecting perhaps one in 50,000 people, it is a topic worth mentioning. If you have hyperacusis, everyday sounds cause pain and discomfort. It affects one’s whole life. Below, we shall talk about the types, causes, and treatment for hyperacusis.

Symptoms of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is, as mentioned, sensitivity to normal sounds. Moreover, it is a disorder affecting one’s perception of loud noises. For some, the effects may be minor, but for others, the whole world can tip over at the sound of a door closing. 

Two types of hyperacusis exist which influence its symptoms: cochlear and vestibular. Symptoms of cochlear hyperacusis include pain in the ear and annoyance toward everyday sounds. This type is the more common of the two. Vestibular hyperacusis, on the other hand, affects the whole brain. In reaction to loud noise, a person with this disorder may get nauseous, dizzy, and lose balance. When daily sounds become even a minor irritant, however, a person can become stressed, anxious, depressed, and socially withdrawn. 

Causes of Hyperacusis

This disorder is not genetic, but typically from an injury of some sort, a disease, or related to another disorder. Types of damages that may cause the hearing sensitivity are a brain injury, exposure to a loud sound like a gunshot, fireworks, or concert, and airbag deployment. Diseases that may induce hyperacusis may be Lyme disease, Ménière’s disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and others. Autism, multiple sclerosis, and taking certain medications can also contribute to the problem. Along with hyperacusis, someone may experience tinnitus.

Treatment for Hyperacusis

If someone is continually sensitive to the sounds around him, he may naturally want to wear earplugs or headphones all the time. Surprisingly, stopping the ears can actually increase hearing sensitivity. While no surgical options exist presently, one can undergo a retraining therapy, in which the person wears a device producing broadband pink noise to recalibrate one’s ears to normal sound perception. The treatment takes about six months to a year to complete but promises positive results. If you or someone you know may have hyperacusis, talk to an audiologist about possible diagnosis and treatment today.

Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions

Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.

Come in for a walk-in appointment on Tuesdays & Fridays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am or contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 410-698-6594 or visiting our contact page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for more blog posts, news, and updates!

This entry was posted on Friday, November 1st, 2019 at 10:31 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.