Hyperacusis Specialist

Sharp Hearing Care Professionals

Audiology located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Tarzana, CA

Hyperacusis is a challenging condition that makes you hypersensitive to sounds. This sensitivity makes everyday sounds so loud and intolerable that they interfere with your ability to work, sleep, and enjoy life. The skilled team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals have years of experience helping patients overcome hyperacusis. To get individualized care, call one of the offices in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California, or request an appointment online.

Hyperacusis Q & A

What is hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder that makes sounds that are normal to everyone else sound unbearably loud to you. Car engines, clanking dishes, and rustling paper are a few examples of sounds easily tolerated by most people but would be too loud for a patient with hyperacusis.

It’s important to know that you’re not bothered only by loud sounds. When you have hyperactive hearing, even soft sounds can be irritating.

Most patients with hyperacusis have normal hearing. However, they often have tinnitus or ringing in the ears, along with their hypersensitivity.

What symptoms develop due to hyperacusis?

When everyday sounds become painful and irritating, you may stop socializing and going out to the places you once enjoyed. Sounds start representing such a challenge that you may feel like it’s easier to avoid the circumstances where you’d encounter them.

Depending on the severity of your hyperacusis, you may have difficulty concentrating, following conversations, or sleeping. It’s also common to develop extreme anxiety or fear of being exposed to sounds that are startling and uncomfortable.

If you also have tinnitus, you’ll hear things even when there’s no external sound nearby. Examples of these phantom sounds include ringing, buzzing, clicking, and hissing.

What causes hyperacusis?

Many diseases and disorders are associated with hyperacusis, including:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lyme disease
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Autism

Hyperacusis may also develop after head trauma, surgery to your jaw or face, or viral infection in your inner ear. Exposure to loud noise also triggers hyperacusis. You may only need to be exposed to one loud noise, or the condition may gradually develop from frequently listening to the same noise.

How do you treat hyperacusis?

The first step is to have a comprehensive audiology consultation, so your audiologist at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals can determine if you have any hearing, ear, or physical problems that may contribute to your hyperacusis.

Your audiologist may recommend tinnitus retraining therapy or a customized earmold that helps filter some sounds while still allowing you to hear. However, the experts at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals do not recommend standard earplugs to block out all sound. Many patients who wear earplugs become more hypersensitive after they remove the earplugs.

A sound generator is another treatment option. This device transmits gentle sounds through a device that’s similar to a hearing aid. As you listen to low-level sounds for a specific amount of time, your auditory nerves and brain may become desensitized and less reactive.

If you need help with hyperacusis, call Sharp Hearing Care Professionals or request an appointment online.