Hyperacusis Treatment & Care
Hyperacusis, reduced tolerance to normal environmental sounds, is a rare condition. Nevertheless, it affects people of all ages and can be truly debilitating. It may emerge gradually over time, or you may experience it suddenly.
If sounds in your everyday environment are causing you discomfort or pain, a licensed audiologist at Soundwave Hearing Care can examine you to identify causes and provide treatment strategies for your hyperacusis. Our extensive range of services can meet all your hearing needs under one roof. We provide hearing care for all ages, from infants to seniors, at four locations in Alberta. Contact us today to schedule a hyperacusis evaluation and consultation.
This condition can affect people at any age. Our audiologist can test, diagnose and treat this condition for children and adults.
What is hyperacusis?
A relatively rare auditory disorder, hyperacusis is characterized by amplified hearing or increased sensitivity to normal environmental sounds. Its severity varies. You may experience it as a minor inconvenience, like a feeling of irritation at the sound of your kitchen blender, for example. In more severe cases, the condition can be debilitating, causing the hearer to find the sound of their car engine intolerably painful.
Hyperacusis may cause you discomfort, physical pain or an irritating sense of pressure in your ears. You may experience a reduction in your ability to hear sudden volume changes. You may also experience an onset of tinnitus, a sudden ringing in the ear.
Causes of hyperacusis
No single cause has been identified for hyperacusis. Some theories include auditory nerve damage or malfunction, problems in central auditory processing or malfunction in the ear’s protective mechanisms. It’s often associated with underlying conditions, some of which include:
- Head trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Viral infectionGlobal sensory sensitivities
- Diseases such as Lyme, Tay-Sachs, Ménières, multiple sclerosis (MS) and lupus
While there’s no cure for hyperacusis, appropriate treatment can significantly improve your quality of life. When hyperacusis accompanies another medical condition, your treatment for the broader condition may resolve your hearing problems. While you may resort to wearing ear protection to give you relief, it may cause your sensitivity to increase over time.
Our licensed and specially-trained audiologists will evaluate your condition and provide therapy to help you reduce your sound sensitivity. They may recommend strategies to help you cope with physical discomfort and manage any associated anxiety.
At Soundwave Hearing Care, we customize our Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) to your unique condition and help improve your quality of life by mitigating and reducing the harmful effects of hyperacusis. Contact us to schedule an assessment.
Other hearing conditions are sometimes associated with hyperacusis but distinguishing them is essential. A condition called “recruitment” causes a person with hearing issues within a specific frequency range – high pitch hearing loss, for example – to perceive exaggerated volume within the affected range. While recruitment affects how you hear certain sounds, hyperacusis affects how you experience all sounds.
Misophonia is a condition where the hearer experiences a physical and emotional response to certain everyday sounds, irrespective of volume. The reaction tends to be sudden and visceral, occurring before the hearer has time to associate meaning with the sound. By contrast, hyperacusis is characterized by physical pain.
Can anxiety lead to hearing loss?
You may be concerned with the relationship between stress and your hearing. Anxiety hearing loss is one effect of long-term stress. Stress famously is associated with conditions like heart disease and diabetes, which restrict your circulation. Poor circulation can impact your auditory functioning, leading to hearing loss or tinnitus. Stress-related insomnia may make you yawn excessively, which can cause a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ears.
Conversely, hyperacusis may induce anxious feelings that can exacerbate your stress. A licensed audiologist can not only diagnose your ear problems; they can help you learn how to overcome noise anxiety. Schedule an appointment today with a licensed audiologist at Soundwave Hearing Care to sort out your hearing-related issues.
Audiologists and hearing aid practitioners in Alberta
Soundwave Hearing Care has provided treatment for hyperacusis and other forms of decreased sound tolerance for decades. Our TRT-certified audiologist is the only TRT provider in the Canadian prairies. We serve clients of every age, and our full range of in-house services means you don’t have to shop around to meet your hearing needs. Visit one of our locations in Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge or High River. Contact Soundwave Hearing today to book your sound tolerance consultation and evaluation.