Hyperacusis: A Hearing Impairment

Most people know of only one type of hearing impairment – deafness. Hearing no sound at all can be very difficult but looking at the opposite side of it, hearing too much may also prove to be as hard. Hyperacusis is defined as the intolerance to normal and everyday sounds.

To give you a concrete illustration of hyperacusis, take for example a glass being put down on top of a desk. To ordinary people, the sound produced by such an act is very noticeable. For someone who is suffering from hyperacusis, such sound may be described as loud, even disturbing.

Symptoms of hyperacusis include pain or pressure in the inner ear. Because of the added noise that they hear, individuals with this ailment may find it difficult to adapt to the flow of everyday life and may be deemed as socially unfit.

When someone suffers from hyperacusis it would be likely that he or she would soon develop tinnitus. Tinnitus is an odd sensation in your ear that is coupled with a ringing or whistling sound. Phonophobia is also a disorder that is associated with this condition. This is characterized with the fear of exposure to sounds that may do damage to their hearing. In such situations, a person with hyperacusis may be under a lot of stress. This would be evident in how one performances in the workplace, at home and in social gatherings. Lack of sleep is also attributed with such stress.

Hyperacusis is said to be caused by a malfunction in the sound regulatory system of the brain. It can also be a result of a serious head injury, over fatigue or epilepsy. Disease such as Bell's Palsy and Lyme disease is also related with such hearing impairment. Intake of synthetic drugs could also have some negative effects that can cause hyperacusis.

One popular treatment for hyperacusis is sound desensitization. In this procedure, a patient is exposed to pink noise (a term referred to a random noise with equal amount of energy in one octave) at a volume lower than one's discomfort level. He would be subject to such process for about two hours everyday. Results will not be achieved in a snap of a finger, but with enough support from family and friends, one should be in the path of full recovery in about six months.