What are the Symptoms of Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a condition characterized by an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds, which may cause discomfort or pain. Symptoms of hyperacusis can vary in severity and may include:

  • Pain or Discomfort: Individuals with hyperacusis may experience pain, discomfort, or an exaggerated sensation in response to certain sounds.
  • Increased Sensitivity: There is heightened sensitivity to sounds that may be perceived as normal by others, such as the sound of a door closing, footsteps, or even background noise.
  • Avoidance of Noisy Environments: Due to the discomfort associated with certain sounds, individuals with hyperacusis may actively avoid environments with loud noises.
  • Irritability or Anxiety: Hyperacusis can contribute to irritability, anxiety, or stress, especially when exposed to sounds that trigger discomfort.
  • Ear Pain: Some individuals with hyperacusis may experience ear pain or a feeling of fullness in the ears.
  • Difficulty Tolerating Everyday Sounds: Sounds that are typically well-tolerated may become intolerable for individuals with hyperacusis.

It’s important to distinguish hyperacusis from tinnitus, which is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears without an external sound source. While they can coexist, hyperacusis specifically refers to an increased sensitivity to external sounds.

The exact cause of hyperacusis is not always clear, but it can be associated with various conditions, including noise-induced hearing loss, head injuries, ear injuries, or certain neurological disorders.

If you suspect you have hyperacusis or are experiencing symptoms related to sound sensitivity, it’s advisable to consult with an audiologist or healthcare professional specializing in hearing disorders. They can conduct assessments to evaluate the severity of hyperacusis and recommend appropriate management strategies, which may include therapeutic approaches or devices aimed at desensitizing the auditory system.