Pain is your body’s means of delivering information. It’s not a terribly fun approach but it can be effective. When your ears begin to feel the pain of a very loud megaphone next to you, you know damage is taking place and you can take measures to move further away or at least cover your ears.
But, in spite of their marginal volume, 8-10% of people will feel pain from quiet sounds as well. Hearing specialists refer to this condition as hyperacusis. It’s a medical term for overly sensitive ears. There’s no cure for hyperacusis, but there are treatments that can help you get a handle on your symptoms.
Heightened sound sensitivity
Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Most of the time sounds in a specific frequency trigger episodes of hyperacusis for people who experience it. Quiet noises will frequently sound really loud. And noises that are loud seem a lot louder than they are.
Hyperacusis is often connected with tinnitus, hearing trouble, and even neurological issues, though no one really knows what actually causes it. There’s a noticeable degree of personal variability when it comes to the symptoms, intensity, and treatment of hyperacusis.
What’s a normal hyperacusis response?
Here’s how hyperacusis, in most situations, will look and feel::
- Your response and pain will be worse the louder the sound is.
- Balance problems and dizziness can also be experienced.
- You might experience pain and buzzing in your ears (this pain and buzzing could last for days or weeks after you hear the original sound).
- Everyone else will think a particular sound is quiet but it will sound extremely loud to you.
Hyperacusis treatment treatment
When your hyperacusis makes you vulnerable 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 treatment is so crucial. There are various treatments available depending on your particular situation and we can help you choose one that’s best for you. Here are some of the most common options:
A device called a masking device is one of the most common treatments for hyperacusis. While it might sound perfect for Halloween (sorry), actually though, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out select wavelengths of sounds. So those offending frequencies can be eliminated before they get to your ears. You can’t have a hyperacusis episode if you can’t hear the offending sound!
A less sophisticated approach to this general method is earplugs: you can’t have a hyperacusis episode if you’re unable to hear… well, anything. It’s undoubtedly a low-tech approach, and there are some disadvantages. There’s some research that suggests that, over time, the earplugs can throw your hearing ecosystem even further off and make your hyperacusis worse. Consult us if you’re considering wearing earplugs.
One of the most in-depth methods of managing hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll use a mix of devices, physical therapy, and emotional therapy to try to change the way you respond to particular kinds of sounds. Training yourself to dismiss sounds is the basic idea. This strategy depends on your dedication but generally has a positive success rate.
Methods that are less common
There are also some less common strategies for treating hyperacusis, including medications or ear tubes. These strategies are less commonly utilized, depending on the specialist and the person, because they have delivered mixed results.
A big difference can come from treatment
Because hyperacusis has a tendency to vary from person to person, a specialized treatment plan can be developed depending on your symptoms as you encounter them. There’s no one best approach to managing hyperacusis, it really depends on finding the right treatment for you.