Pain is your body’s means of delivering information. It’s not a very fun method but it can be effective. When that megaphone you’re standing next to gets too loud, the pain lets you know that major ear damage is happening and you immediately (if you’re wise) cover your ears or remove yourself from that extremely loud environment.
But for about 8-10% of individuals, quiet sounds can be detected as painfully loud, despite their measured decibel level. This condition is known by experts as hyperacusis. This is the medical label for excessively sensitive ears. The symptoms of hyperacusis can be managed but there’s no cure.
Heightened sound sensitivity
Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Most of the time sounds in a particular frequency trigger episodes of hyperacusis for individuals who experience it. Quiet noises will frequently sound extremely loud. And noises that are loud sound a lot louder than they actually are.
Hyperacusis is frequently linked to tinnitus, hearing trouble, and even neurological difficulties, although no one really knows what actually causes it. There’s a significant degree of personal variability when it comes to the symptoms, severity, and treatment of hyperacusis.
What kind of response is normal for hyperacusis?
Here’s how hyperacusis, in most cases, will look and feel::
- Everybody else will think a particular sound is quiet but it will sound extremely loud to you.
- Balance issues and dizziness can also be experienced.
- Your response and discomfort will be worse the louder the sound is.
- After you hear the initial sound, you could have pain and hear buzzing for days or even weeks.
Treatments for hyperacusis
When your hyperacusis makes you sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, the world can be like a minefield. Your hearing could be assaulted and you could be left with an awful headache and ringing ears anytime you go out.
That’s why it’s so essential to get treatment. You’ll want to come in and talk with us about which treatments will be your best option (this all tends to be rather variable). The most popular options include the following.
A device called a masking device is one of the most common treatments for hyperacusis. This is technology that can cancel out certain wavelengths. These devices, then, have the ability to selectively mask those triggering wavelengths of sound before they ever get to your ear. If you can’t hear the offending sound, you won’t have a hyperacusis attack.
A less state-of-the-art approach to this general method is earplugs: you can’t have a hyperacusis episode if you’re unable to hear… well, anything. It’s certainly a low-tech approach, and there are some disadvantages. Your overall hearing issues, including hyperacusis, could get worse by using this approach, according to some evidence. Consult us if you’re considering using earplugs.
One of the most thorough methods of managing hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll use a combination of devices, physical therapy, and emotional counseling to try to change how you respond to certain kinds of sounds. Training yourself to dismiss sounds is the basic idea. Normally, this strategy has a good success rate but depends a great deal on your dedication to the process.
Less common methods
There are also some less prevalent strategies for managing hyperacusis, such as medications or ear tubes. These approaches are less commonly utilized, depending on the specialist and the individual, because they have met with mixed success.
A huge difference can come from treatment
Depending on how you experience your symptoms, which differ from person to person, a specialized treatment plan can be created. There’s no one best approach to managing hyperacusis, it really depends on finding the right treatment for you.