Hyperacusis - Dream Health

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Monday 18 May 2015


Hyperacusis – Over Sensitive to Certain Frequency & Volume Ranges of Sound

Hyperacusis is a health condition which is considered to be over sensitive to certain frequency and volume ranges of sound. It is a disorder which arises from a problem where the brains’ central auditory processing centre recognizes noise. It could be a cause of pain and discomfort.

The person suffering from hyperacusis tends to have difficulty in tolerating everyday sound which could be intolerable to that person but not to the others. They may be experiencing an extreme aversion and hypersensitivity to sounds which may not be an issue to the others. Machine and electrical sounds and sudden high pitched sound usually tend to be difficult to tolerate for people with hyperacusis.

This abnormal reaction could occur suddenly or tend to get worse gradually over a period of time. Hyperacusis could be a minor disorder for some with an uneasy or uncomfortable feeling when they tend to hear some sound. While for others it could be a major impact on life where low level sound could be considered as loud and may cause anxiety.

Some Causes of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis could affect people of all age, in one or both the ears and people are not usually born with this disorder. They could develop a narrow tolerance to sound. Some causes may include –
  • Head injury
  • Lyme disease
  • Ear damage from toxins or medication
  • Air bag deployment
  • Viral infections which involves the inner ear or facial nerve
  • Temporomandibular joint - TMJ syndrome
A variety of neurologic conditions could also be associated with this disorder which may include –
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Tay Sach’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Certain forms of epilepsy
  • Valium dependence
  • Depression
  • Migraine headaches
Seek An Evaluation – Otolaryngologist 

Those suspecting this disorder should seek an evaluation by an otolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat doctor. The initial consultations could comprise of a full audio logic evaluation – with a hearing test, a recording of medical history, together with a medical evaluation by a physician.

At that time, counselling on evaluation results as well as treatment could also be delivered. No precise corrective surgical or medical treatment is available, though sound therapy could be used to restrain the auditory processing centre of the brain in accepting the everyday noise.

This includes the use of a noise generating device which could be worn on the affected ear/ears. People with hyperacusis may find it uncomfortable in placing sound directly in their ear. However, the device creates a gentle static type of a sound which is barely audible. Sound therapy may take around 12 months for completion and generally tends to improve the sound tolerance.

There are a number of other therapies which could help in reducing the individual’s fears and anxieties with regards to this disorder together with sensitivity to sounds. These forms of therapies include retraining and acoustic.

 In the case of retraining therapy it comprises of counselling and acoustic therapy and the focus is in reducing a patient’s reaction to hyperacusis. Counselling enables to help the person to cope well while acoustic therapy helps in decreasing a person’s sensitivity to sounds as well as teach them to recognize sound in a positive manner.

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