Hyperacusis | Sensitivity to Sounds

Published: Feb 20, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Woman covering her ears

Hyperacusis is an affliction that presents itself as an increased sensitivity to sound(s) and a low tolerance for environmental noise, which can be accompanied by sensations of pain (usually in the ears or head), annoyance, stress, anxiety, anger, panic, and/or fear.

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For some people, fears, anxiety, panic and desperation can become so intense that cases of suicide have been reported.

The most common cause is exposure to loud noise. Nevertheless, certain specific sound patterns such as slurping, chewing, or popping gum may also be a cause. On a physical level, a dysfunction of the brain, inner ear, or middle ear maybe discerned. Hyperacusis can also be accompanied by Tinnitus.

Hyperacusis that causes annoyance or anger is often considered synonymous with Misophonia. Hyperacusis that causes fear is generally considered synonymous with Phonophobia.

There are currently no specific treatments for patients with Hyperacusis. Nevertheless, avoidance of certain situations, behavioral therapy, and/or hearing protection are typically the most applied remedies by patients.

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