What is Hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis is a health condition which causes an over-sensitivity to many sounds including specific frequencies of sound to a tinnitus sufferer. This is something I have and am still dealing with on a daily basis. My hyperacusis was caused by my initial head trauma.
A person can get this as a result of some damage which has been caused to their ears or inner ears. Hyperacusis can also be caused from damage to the brain (the neurological system).
Hyperacusis in this state is defined as a cerebral problem as to how the brain interprets and perceives sound. About 35% of tinnitus patients complain of having mild hyperacusis.
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Hyperacusis is as mentioned an increased sensitivity to sounds around a sufferer. Hyperacusis occurs within people with normal hearing as well as with people with hearing loss. Hyperacusis is often associated with a problem in the central processing of a person’s sound perceptions.
Tinnitus patients with Hyperacusis will often have physical pain or discomfort to daily sounds and their lives can be adversely affected to the extent they can’t enjot normal social activities.
In many cases people will totally alter their lifestyles in order to deal with this by changing where they live and work, wearing earplugs, staying away from loud activities and trying to decrease loud sounds by turning down or avoiding household and office sounds such as telephones, TV’s, radios and door bell ringers, loud speech, traffic noise, kitchen noise, doors shutting, shouting, football games, rock concerts etc
Obviously Hyperacusis can cause a lot of stress for those who have it and there are programs where sufferers can learn how to recoup and start to go about their daily lives, responding to sounds in a normal way. Usually this may require some form of counseling and sound therapy.
In order to see if you have Hyperacusis you will need to follow these steps:
1)Undertake a full audiological evaluation and find out as much information about tinnitus and hyperacusis 2)look into getting an appointment with an otolaryngologist who is an ear, nose and throat doctor 3)You will then start a series of tests, anatomy and physiology of your hearing functions and how they relate to tinnitus and the problem of hyperacusis. This part of your cousellingeducates you on how to relieve your fears and concerns. 4)the last part involves using of sound therapy.
This treatment tries to restore the normal sensitivity to sound you originally had.
Normally hyperacusis is caused by excessive exposure to loud and too high decibel levels of sound from work environments, hard rock concerts, personal hearing devices like mp3 players, walkmans, etc.
Other causes of causes of hyperacusis can come from:
-Severe head trauma -Surgery -Chronic ear infections -Minor Head Injuries -Ear irrigation -Temporomandibular joint disorder - TMJ -Adverse drug reactions -Autism -Ménière’s disease -Asperger syndrome
The usual treatment for hyperacusis is sound retraining therapy that usesd broadband sound at soft levels at a set time each day to help patients reestablish their tolerances to loud sounds.