Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

Man troubled by bothersome noises holding hands over his ears to block them out.

Pain is your body’s means of supplying information. It’s not a terribly fun method but it can be beneficial. When that megaphone you’re standing near goes too loud, the pain lets you know that significant ear damage is occurring and you instantly (if you’re smart) cover your ears or remove yourself from that extremely loud environment.

But, despite their marginal volume, 8-10% of people will feel pain from low volume sounds as well. This condition is referred to by experts as hyperacusis. It’s a medical term for overly sensitive ears. There’s no cure for hyperacusis, but there are treatments that can help you get a handle on your symptoms.

Heightened sound sensitivity

Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Most of the time sounds within a distinct frequency trigger episodes of hyperacusis for individuals who suffer from it. Quiet noises will often sound really loud. And noises that are loud seem a lot louder than they actually are.

nobody’s quite certain what causes hyperacusis, although it’s frequently linked to tinnitus or other hearing problems (and, in some cases, neurological concerns). There’s a significant degree of individual variability with the symptoms, severity, and treatment of hyperacusis.

What type of response is typical for hyperacusis?

In most cases, hyperacusis will look and feel something like this:

  • You will hear a specific sound, a sound that everybody else perceives as quiet, and that sound will sound exceptionally loud to you.
  • You may also experience dizziness and problems keeping your balance.
  • You might notice pain and buzzing in your ears (this pain and buzzing could last for days or weeks after you hear the original sound).
  • Your response and discomfort will be worse the louder the sound is.

Hyperacusis treatment treatment

When your hyperacusis makes you sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, the world can seem like a minefield. Your hearing could be assaulted and you could be left with a horrible headache and ringing ears anytime you go out.

That’s why treatment is so crucial. There are various treatments available depending on your particular situation and we can help you pick one that’s best for you. Here are some of the most common options:

Masking devices

A device known as a masking device is one of the most popular treatments for hyperacusis. While it might sound ideal for Halloween (sorry), in reality, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out select wavelengths of sounds. These devices, then, have the ability to selectively mask those triggering wavelengths of sound before they ever get to your ear. If you can’t hear the triggering sound, you won’t have a hyperacusis episode.


A less state-of-the-art approach to this basic method is earplugs: you can’t have a hyperacusis attack if you’re unable to hear… well, anything. It’s undoubtedly a low-tech approach, and there are some drawbacks. Your general hearing problems, including hyperacusis, could get worse by using this approach, according to some evidence. Consult us if you’re thinking about wearing earplugs.

Ear retraining

One of the most in-depth approaches to managing hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll use a combination of devices, physical therapy, and emotional therapy to try to change the way you react to particular kinds of sounds. Training yourself to disregard sounds is the basic idea. This strategy depends on your commitment but usually has a positive success rate.

Methods that are less common

There are also some less common methods for managing hyperacusis, like medications or ear tubes. These strategies are less commonly used, depending on the specialist and the person, because they have delivered mixed results.

A big difference can come from treatment

Depending on how you experience your symptoms, which vary from person to person, an individual treatment plan can be developed. There’s no single best approach to treating hyperacusis, it really depends on choosing the best treatment for you.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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