When the World Seems Loud: Telltale Signs of Hyperacusis

When the World Seems Loud: Telltale Signs of Hyperacusis

People often associate hearing disorders with not being able to hear. However, hyperacusis is precisely the opposite problem — sounds at a normal or soft volume can seem unbearably loud.

This sensitivity to sound can significantly impact everyday life, take a toll on a person’s mental health, and lead to social isolation. But there are ways to cope. 

Kevin Sharim and the team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Tarzana, and Santa Monica, California, have strategies to manage hyperacusis. If you notice any of these three telltale signs of this disorder, you should schedule a consultation.

1. Certain sounds are way too loud

The most obvious sign of an issue is when sounds that other people don’t perceive as loud seem louder to you. For some, the volume can even seem painful.

Examples of sounds that can seem intolerable with hyperacusis:

This sound sensitivity can affect one or both ears, develop slowly over time, or occur suddenly. 

2. You have additional symptoms

Several hearing disorders can cause sensitivity to sound, including misophonia. However, hyperacusis often appears with additional symptoms, such as:

For some, hyperacusis can cause such intense loudness that it even interferes with balance or causes seizures.

3. You have another medical issue

The exact cause of this hearing disorder isn’t understood completely. However, it does have direct links to a variety of injuries, illnesses, and health conditions.

Issues associated with hyperacusis include:

It’s also more common for adults to develop hyperacusis, especially males.

Living with hyperacusis

Our skilled audiologists use several strategies to help with hyperacusis — but it all starts with a comprehensive audiology consultation to look for a potential cause.

Based on your screening, we could recommend a combination of treatments.

Custom earmolds

It’s tempting to assume the best solution for noise sensitivity involves earplugs to block them out. However, these tools only offer temporary relief. Worse yet, they can lead to even more hypersensitivity.

Instead, our team offers customized earmold assistives that work to filter out certain sounds while retaining others. 

Tinnitus retraining therapy

One highly effective treatment for hyperacusis also relieves tinnitus. This therapy uses special headphones that, when activated, create a low-intensity, calming sound, similar to wind or rain. This provides a predictable sound environment, causing other noises to seem less jarring.

Sound therapy

You can reduce your reaction to loud sounds through exposure therapy. During these treatments, you listen to sounds at gradually increasing levels until the experience becomes more tolerable. Don’t worry — the process starts at a comfortable, low-level intensity, and the volume increases slowly over several weeks.

These are only a few ways our experts can help if you have hyperacusis. And we can also help if your sound sensitivity is due to another issue. Does the world seem loud to you? We have years of experience helping patients overcome hyperacusis. Contact Sharp Hearing Care Professionals today to schedule a hearing test at one of our convenient locations.

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