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What is Hyperacusis and How Can You Treat It?
Are you living with a form of hearing loss? Maybe you’re straining to hear the TV these days, or you’re often having to ask people to repeat themselves in social situations? Then there’s a strong chance you could be, and it could be a form of hyperacusis. Of course, it’s best to book a visit to an audiologist if you’re worried about your hearing, but if you’re curious about the symptoms and causes of hyperacusis, here’s what you need to know.
What is Hyperacusis?
At its core, hyperacusis is a type of hearing loss that makes someone very sensitive towards loud noises. Day to day noise, such as background chatter in the office or the volume of a TV from a room away or even just a ringing phone, can be a harsh sound for someone living with hyperacusis. Furthermore, any louder noises, such as music at a festival or through headphones, can be incredibly uncomfortable and cause mood fluctuations.
Hyperacusis can occur in one or both ears and is usually caused by damage to the inner ear canal. This damage can occur from both natural ageing and ongoing exposure to loud noises or both. People who work on construction sites and people who are over 65, are the most likely candidates to be living with hyperacusis.
What are the symptoms of hyperacusis?
Symptoms of hyperacusis can be sudden or may come on gradually over a period of days or weeks. They can include a sudden dislike for normal pitch sounds, such as hearing someone’s voice when you’re chatting to them like you usually would. Many people living with hyperacusis can also find their own voices to be too loud from time to time. Low humming noises can also be picked up far more often in the near vicinity, also known as white noise and these sounds can become too loud to deal with on a long-term basis.
What Causes Hyperacusis?
The causes of hyperacusis can vary; as we noted above, both ageing and loud noises are the two main factors in developing it. However, a person can be in a variety of situations before experiencing it. For example, people who have been hit or hard slapped in one ear can experience hyperacusis long term in that ear.
Other causes can include being near any kind of explosive noise, other types of head injuries and accidents and even medical treatments can result in one or both ears developing hyperacusis. Regarding the latter cause, hyperacusis tends to be short lived and will get better over time.
How Can You Treat Hyperacusis?
Treating hyperacusis can be done in quite a few ways. The first thing to do is make an appointment with an audiologist to ensure what you’re experiencing is hyperacusis; an official diagnosis can then lead to medication, therapy or the use of hearing aids.
Hearing aids, in cases of severe hyperacusis, can be used to help rebalance your tolerance for sound. Noise reduction features found in; in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids can help to lower the noise of the environment around, especially when you’re in urban areas like inner cities.
Therapy for hyperacusis can also involve the use of hearing aids. These will be fitted to allow the wearer to get used to louder noises, essentially retraining your ears over time. The therapy also helps a person to tune out noise when it gets too much, such as at loud parties or when at work.
Medication will usually only be used to help you sleep at night – many people living with hyperacusis find sleeping at night to be difficult due to their unbalanced sound tolerance.
Get in Touch with Brentwood Hearing Center
If you’re concerned about your current level of hearing, be sure to get in touch with us here at Brentwood Hearing Center. We’re keen to talk through all your hearing worries with you, and our audiologists can lay your questions about hyperacusis to rest. We can arrange an initial consultation, as well as a hearing test and follow up with any treatment needs once we know the cause of your hearing loss.
Achieving a better level of hearing doesn’t have to be out of reach. We’re here to help, no matter what! To book your next hearing test, or to simply talk through all hearing-related questions, you can call us at 615-377-0420 to learn more.