What is Hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis is a rare hearing disorder that causes sounds which would otherwise seem normal to most people to sound unbearably loud. People who suffer from hyperacusis may even find normal environmental sounds to be too loud.
The disorder can occur in one or both ears and is often accompanied by tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear).
What are the symptoms of Hyperacusis?
The hallmark symptom of hyperacusis is having a reduced tolerance and increased sensitivity to everyday sounds in your normal environment. People who suffer from the disease often complain of living in a world in which the volume seems to be turned up too high. Because of this, their quality of life is affected, and they may begin to wear earplugs or earmuffs in public situations where they cannot control the noise.
What causes Hyperacusis?
One major cause of hyperacusis is loud noise exposure – weather it be gradual over time or a by a single intense loud noise.
Additionally, hyperacusis is seen in patients who have experienced a head trauma
Furthermore, the following diseases or disorders have been linked to hyperacusis:
- Bell’s palsy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Meniere’s disease
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
How is Hyperacusis diagnosed?
An audiologist will begin by conducting a thorough physical examination and asking the patient about medical history, including questions about the length and severity of symptoms. A hearing test or audiogram will be given, which is a graph that depicts a person’s ability to hear sounds at different frequencies.
What are the treatments for Hyperacusis?
Although a corrective surgical or medical approach for treating hyperacusis is not available at this time, there are a number of existing therapies that can help reduce a person’s fears and anxieties about the disease, as well as their actual sensitivity to sounds. These may include retraining and acoustic therapies.