Hyperacusis is a condition characterised by heightened sensitivity to everyday sounds. Here, we’ll dive into what hyperacusis is, its potential causes, common symptoms, and strategies for managing this unique hearing challenge.

Understanding Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is a condition in which an individual experiences extreme sensitivity to sounds that most people find tolerable or even quiet. Everyday noises like conversations, the rustling of papers, or the clinking of cutlery can become uncomfortably loud and distressing for those with hyperacusis.

Recognising the Symptoms

Symptoms of hyperacusis can vary in intensity, but they often include:

  • Discomfort or Pain: Even moderately loud sounds can cause discomfort or pain.
  • Anxiety or Irritability: The constant anticipation of loud noises can lead to heightened anxiety or irritability.
  • Social Withdrawal: To avoid triggering sounds, individuals with hyperacusis may withdraw from social situations.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Sound sensitivity can make it challenging to concentrate or focus on tasks.

Causes and Risk Factors

Hyperacusis can result from various factors, including:

  • Hearing Loss: Some cases are linked to hearing loss, as the brain tries to compensate for reduced sound input.
  • Head Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries or head injuries can trigger hyperacusis.
  • Stress and Anxiety: High-stress levels or anxiety can exacerbate sound sensitivity.
  • Ear Disorders: Certain ear conditions or damage to the auditory system can contribute to hyperacusis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you have hyperacusis or are experiencing sound sensitivity, it’s essential to seek professional evaluation. An audiologist can diagnose hyperacusis through a comprehensive hearing assessment.

Treatment approaches vary and may include sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or the use of specialised hearing protection devices to help desensitise the auditory system gradually.

Coping with Hyperacusis

Living with hyperacusis can be challenging, but with the right guidance and support, individuals can improve their tolerance to everyday sounds and enhance their quality of life.


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