What Exactly is Hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis is a little known condition that seems to arise from a problem in the way the brain perceives noise. The underlying cause of the condition is elusive, however its impact on people who suffer with it is well documented. The condition of hyperacusis often leads to pain and discomfort when sufferers are exposed to louder sounds. While we say louder, we don’t mean very loud, in fact most people would consider the level of the sound as normal.
People suffering with the condition find some sounds intolerable, for instance, vehicle noise, the sound of a fan, the shuffling of papers. While all sound can be perceived as too loud, high frequency sounds in particular cause real issue for someone with Hyperacusis. This can have a dramatic effect on the lives of people who suffer with the condition, sometimes it can be difficult if not impossible to function during a normal day. We have seen the condition contribute to social isolation, phonophobia (fear of normal sounds), and depression.
What Causes Hyperacusis?
We can all be sensitive to some sounds, but true hyperacusis is quite rare. The condition can affect people of all ages in one or both ears, people aren’t born with the condition, they tend to develop it. From all of the available research and experience, it appears that common causes of the condition include:
- Head injury
- Ear damage from toxins or medication
- Lyme disease
- Air bag deployment
- Viral infections involving the inner ear or facial nerve (Bell’s palsy)
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
There are also a variety of neurological conditions can be associated with the condition such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Tay-Sach’s disease
- Some forms of epilepsy
- Valium dependence
- Migraine headaches
The condition is often seen in brain injured children, some autistic children, and some children with cerebral palsy).
Diagnosis of Hyperacusis
If you think that you or a loved one have Hyperacusis, you should come for an evaluation. The initial consultation will include a full audiological evaluation, and a recording of your medical history. We will discuss our findings with you and outline your treatment options.
Treatment for Hyperacusis
There is no specific corrective medical treatments for hyperacusis, no drugs available or surgery. However, we have found that sound therapy combined with specialist ear plugs have been very successful. The sound therapy is used in an effort to retrain the auditory processing center of the brain. This can involve the use of a noise-generating device worn on the affected ear or ears. The specialist ear plugs allow people who suffer with the condition to go about their life, the plugs reduce louder sounds but still allow people to converse easily.
Related To Tinnitus
Hyperacusis is strongly associated with tinnitus and people can often have tinnitus and hyperacusis at the same time. Tinnitus treatments can be similar in nature to the sound therapy treatment for Hyperacusis.
Hyperacusis can be a very difficult condition for the people who suffer it, often leading to social isolation and depression. We have found that many people who suffer with Hyperacusis will respond to treatment. If you have any questions about the condition, or if you would like to discuss treatment options please feel free to give us a call.
To book an appointment or if you require further information please call us on:
The Invisible Hearing Clinic
Hearing Aids, Hearing Tests and Hearing Healthcare in Glasgow
Suite 308, Pentagon Centre, 36 Washington St
Glasgow, G3 8AZ
T: 0141 226 2268
The Invisible Hearing Clinic
Hearing Aids, Hearing Tests and Hearing Healthcare in Cumbernauld
Kenilworth Medical Centre, 1 Kenilworth Court
Cumbernauld, G67 1BP
T: 01236 736333