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Hyperacusis is a collapsed tolerance to normal environmental sounds to the extent that even normal sounds are unbearably loud to you. If you have hyperacusis, you find certain sounds louder and
intolerable than others. Some sounds may cause pain in your ears, even if those sounds are not bothersome to everyone around you.
People who suffer from hyperacusis had somehow been exposed to very loud noises. They find certain sounds disturbing and painful - sudden high pitched noises such as clapping, alarms, bus brakes, doors shutting, dish washing, walking on the leaves, clock ticking etc. These people are not born sound sensitive, but they suddenly develop it.
Hyperacusis can become so severe that a sufferer begins to avoid public and social setting in the attempt to avoid these noises. Avoidance is almost impossible in this technologically oriented generation.
|Who is more likely to develop Hyperacusis?
Anyone can develop hypreracusis, but it is more prevalent in females than in males. Hyperacusis may strike suddenly or develop on a gradual basis. Initially, it affects one ear, but may affect both ears if not treated in time.
People who are exposed to too loud sounds or work in noisy environments may find certain noises bothersome. This may increase their susceptibility to developing sound sensitivity.
Otolaryngologists still maintain that damaged done to the cochlea by improper removal of ear fluids is the primary cause of hyperacusis. Current studies project too much exposure to very loud sounds as another cause of hyperacusis. However, there are certain factors that are regarded common to causing sound sensitivity. The most common causes of hyperacusis are:
- Head Injury
- Acoustic Trauma
- Adverse reaction to medication or surgeries
- Chronic ear infections
- Auto immune disorders
- The side effects of drugs
- Lyme disease
- Air bag deployment
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
People who suffered head injuries are more likely to develop hyperacusis. Neck injuries may also result in certain ear disorders or may interfere with the proper functioning of the auditory system.
|How long does Hyperacusis lasts for?
Depending on the severity of the attack, hyperacusis often lasts approximately 8 – 12 weeks. If it persists for more than this period, other auditory disorder might have developed along the way. Other ear or noise disorders include:
Always consult with your otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) or audiologist (ear specialist) for other upper respiratory and ear disorders underlying your condition.
|How is Hyperacusis treated?
Treatment is usually individualized and sometimes several strategies are implemented together. Using ear plugs may be helpful, but frustrating as it results in hearing loss. Tinnitus retraining therapy is a method by which barely audible sound is delivered to the ear for defined periods of time each day. A third approach is the use of a tinnitus masking device, which looks like a hearing aid, but delivers white noise to the ear.
|Things to avoid if you have Hyperacusis
Hyperacusis is a very annoying condition, and some people get so much disturbed that they do certain things that aggravate the severity of their conditions. Some misuse earplugs and other take an overdose of medication all in a vain attempt to eradicate the annoyance of the noise they hear.
Hear are certain things you must avoid to lessen your hyperacusis:
- Over protection of your ears – Some people use ear protection even if they're in silent places. This may aggravate your extent of noise intolerance. Some even go as far as using earplugs when they sleep. This tunes your ears into very quiet atmosphere, and they become more sensitive even to normal sounds.
- Protecting one ear than the other – If your ears are both hypersensitive and only one gets plugged, the other one may become hypersensitive and annoying while the protected gets better.
- Loud air conditioners – Loud air conditioners may tune your ears to certain noise exposure level. If it happens that you find yourself in silent places, your ears may become hypersensitive and unable to tolerate silent noises.
- Exposure to loud noises – Mornings and evenings are the quietest times of the day, try to make these times as quiet as possible.