About Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is a rare hearing disorder that causes sounds, which would otherwise seem normal to most people, to seem unbearably loud to people with this condition.

It is a symptom of a central auditory nervous system malfunction. Normal everyday sounds seem overly magnified, as if someone has turned up the volume of the ear and the dial is stuck on high. Sounds such as turning newspaper pages, removing dishes from the dishwasher, brushing one’s hair or running water in the sink become intolerable to those with hyperacusis.

Everyday sounds (while hardly noticed by their peers) can be uncomfortably loud and sometimes painful. Generally, soft sounds won’t be bothersome, but moderate and loud sounds can become so bothersome that they interfere with daily activities and wreak havoc on personal and work relationships.

Hyperacusis can often be caused by sudden excessive noise exposure and/or head trauma (concussion injury). Hyperacusis can occur gradually or suddenly and can be devastating to an individual’s job, relationships and quality of life. For some, it’s a minor nuisance, but others, it’s a life altering condition.

Treatment

Unlike tinnitus, hyperacusis is a treatable condition which can be improved in approximately 90% of all patients, with the use of broadband sound therapy. Improvement may be partial or complete. Typically, ear-level broadband sound generators are the treatment of choice. Recovery from hyperacusis requires time and patience, as it will take time to desensitize the brain and reset it back to normalized sound sensitivity.

Treatment requires frequent directive educational counseling and regular follow-up visits. It is recommended that patients to fully commit to the treatment plan to maximize their success.

Hearing Protection

While it is sensible to wear hearing protection when you will be exposed to unsafe loud sounds (e.g. lawn mowers, DIY power tools, dance clubs, rock concert venues, sporting arenas), individuals dealing with hyperacusis should not try to avoid intolerable loud sounds by wearing ear plugs or hearing protection devices. While this may sound like a good idea, this can actually be counterproductive and may make you more sensitive to the sounds around you.

Contact us to learn more about hyperacusis and different treatment options or to schedule an appointment.

Request Appointment

Schedule an Appointment with Top-rated Audiologist, Dr. Marni Novick in Los Gatos, CA.
Schedule appointment