Pain is your body’s method of supplying information. It’s not a very enjoyable approach but it can be beneficial. When your ears start to feel the pain of a really loud megaphone next to you, you know damage is occurring and you can take measures to move further away or at least cover your ears.
But, despite their marginal volume, 8-10% of people will feel pain from low volume sounds as well. This condition is known by experts as hyperacusis. It’s a medical term for overly sensitive ears. The symptoms of hyperacusis can be managed but there’s no cure.
Heightened sound sensitivity
Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Usually sounds in a distinct frequency trigger episodes of hyperacusis for individuals who experience it. Quiet noises will frequently sound very loud. And loud noises seem even louder.
Hyperacusis is often linked to tinnitus, hearing trouble, and even neurological issues, though no one really knows what actually causes it. There’s a significant degree of personal variability when it comes to the symptoms, intensity, and treatment of hyperacusis.
What’s a normal hyperacusis response?
In most instances, hyperacusis will look and feel something like this:
- Everybody else will think a specific sound is quiet but it will sound extremely loud to you.
- Balance problems and dizziness can also be experienced.
- Your response and pain will be worse the louder the sound is.
- After you hear the initial sound, you could experience pain and hear buzzing for days or even weeks.
Hyperacusis treatment treatment
When your hyperacusis makes you vulnerable to a wide variety of frequencies, the world can be like a minefield. You never know when a lovely night out will suddenly become an audio onslaught that will leave you with ringing ears and a three-day migraine.
That’s why it’s so crucial to get treatment. You’ll want to come in and speak with us about which treatments will be most up your alley (this all tends to be rather variable). The most popular options include the following.
One of the most commonly used treatments for hyperacusis is something called a masking device. While it may sound ideal for Halloween (sorry), actually though, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out select wavelengths of sounds. So those offensive frequencies can be eliminated before they get to your ears. You can’t have a hyperacusis attack if you can’t hear the offending sound!
A less state-of-the-art approach to this basic method is earplugs: you can’t have a hyperacusis episode if you’re unable to hear… well, anything. There are certainly some disadvantages to this low tech approach. Your overall hearing problems, including hyperacusis, could worsen by using this strategy, according to some evidence. Consult us if you’re thinking about using earplugs.
One of the most thorough methods of treating hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll attempt to change how you react to certain kinds of sounds by utilizing physical therapy, emotional counseling, and a combination of devices. Training yourself to disregard sounds is the basic idea. This strategy depends on your dedication but generally has a positive rate of success.
Less prevalent solutions
There are also some less common strategies for managing hyperacusis, like medications or ear tubes. These approaches are less commonly used, depending on the specialist and the individual, because they have met with mixed results.
A huge difference can come from treatment
Depending on how you experience your symptoms, which vary from person to person, an individual treatment plan can be developed. There’s no single best approach to managing hyperacusis, it really depends on choosing the best treatment for you.