Hyperacusis symptoms and treatments?
Hyperacusis is an auditory disorder when a person experiences difficulties tolerating sounds at a normal level. In some instances, low level or normal sound levels can become unbearable or the person can experience pain within the ear. External sounds including conversations, vacuum cleaning, kitchen appliances, or busy offices can become difficult to tolerate the sound.
People who suffer from Hyperacusis often feel pain when they hear high-pitched sounds, for example, car alarms, phones ringing, or dogs barking can cause extreme discomfort. Unfortunately, if these high pitch sounds are common in your workplace or environment, a person can become anxious and quite uncomfortable.
What does Hyperacusis feel like?
Hyperacusis can cause physical pain in your ear or a fullness (pressure) within the ear. This can become uncomfortable as people quite often leave the issue undiagnosed.
Our patient's experience:
Hyperacusis can cause physical pain in your ear or a fullness (pressure) within the ear. This can become uncomfortable as people quite often leave the issue undiagnosed.Our patient's experience:
- Sharp pain within the ear
- Fullness feeling within the ear
- Low/Normal sounds cause pain
- Increased anxiety or stress
- Balance issues
- Experience headaches
Types of hyperacusisCochlear hyperacusis
With cochlear hyperacusis, people can experience pain within the ear, irritation, discomfort when they hear certain sounds. Sounds at a low or high pitch can cause extreme discomfort. Unfortunately, cochlear hyperacusis can cause discomfort or anxiety when hearing normal level sounds.Vestibular hyperacusis
With vestibular hyperacusis, people can experience a loss of balance or dizziness when exposed to certain sounds. Vestibular hyperacusis can also cause vertigo or nausea.
Causes of hyperacusisHyperacusis can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Changes in hearing due to aging
- Head or ear trauma
- Prolonged exposure to loud noises
- Ototoxic Medications can cause hearing loss/hyperacusis
- Blockages can cause temporary hyperacusis
- Tinnitus – People who experience tinnitus can also experience hyperacusis
- Viral infections that affect the inner ear or facial nerve
- Ménière’s disease
Hyperacusis tests & treatments?
An audiological assessment including a pure-tone hearing test can detect levels of hearing loss at both high and low frequencies. Once a full hearing test is complete, the Audiologist can analyse the level of hearing by reviewing the audiogram.Hearing Aids
If hearing loss is present, hearing aids can be specifically programmed to compensate for hearing loss to help ease Hyperacusis. In some cases, patients suffering from Hyperacusis also experience Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear). An Audiologist can advise if a patient is a potential candidate for hearing aids.GP
In most cases, a GP will recommend a hearing test to investigate if Hyperacusis is caused by hearing loss. If no loss is present, further referrals to an ENT specialist to investigate the issues.ENT Specialist
If hearing loss is not present from the results of a hearing test, the Audiologists may refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist) who may investigate the issue further.