The human ear is infinitely complex, more complicated than meets the eye. Over time, losing the full function of our ears is normal, although hearing loss and other hearing conditions can have multiple causes, such as overly-loud noise exposure, a head injury, or ototoxic medication. While many people experience hearing loss, a reduced reception of sound, some people experience hyperacusis. What is hyperacusis, and how does one manage it?
Symptoms of Hyperacusis
Hyperacusis is an over-sensitivity to noise that can come about most often through aging or loud noise exposure. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Feeling most comfortable with quiet sounds
- Having discomfort when exposed to regular sound levels
- Feeling like constant noises, like the AC, are too loud
- A loud noise causes sudden pain or discomfort
- Loud noises make your ears pop, increase tinnitus or disorientation, or worsen sensitivity
Testing and Diagnosis
Unfortunately, there is no test to determine whether or not you have hyperacusis, as the diagnosis will ultimately depend on what you describe your symptoms to be. Hearing exams typically evaluate one’s hearing health, or whether or not they have hearing loss. A hearing exam can determine something about your hearing sensitivity, however. For example, if you only have sensitivity in one ear, it could be a tumor known as an acoustic neuroma.
If you do have significant hearing sensitivity, however, it is best to get it checked out by an audiologist, just to be safe. This condition can make social and daily life more difficult with all the noises that come with it.
Treatment for Hyperacusis
Hyperacusis may be annoying, but it is not due to a life-threatening disorder. This condition does not currently have a cure, but there are ways to adequately manage it. One simple way to help is to ask the people you are talking with to keep their voices lower if the volume brings discomfort. When exposed to loud sounds like the lawnmower, wear hearing protection to guard your hearing. Clarity Audiology can custom fit you with earbuds that suit the occasion. Other solutions include tinnitus retraining therapy, reintroducing yourself to daily sounds, talking with someone you trust about your concerns, and temporary sleeping medication or earplugs.
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 are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.