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Hyperacusis and Social Issues

Jason Rickard

Hyperacusis is a condition where one develops an abnormal sensitivity to everyday sounds and noises. They may also be sensitivity to high pitched sounds. It is a chronic condition which is associated with tinnitus or ringing sounds in the ear. Young and old, who have both normal hearing and a hearing loss may suffer from hyperacusis.


It is a condition that develops in one slowly, maybe due to head injuries. Some research has also proven that some brain chemistry dysfunction resulting from poor intake of some chemicals leads to hyperacusis. Sometimes job related noise exposure, drugs or surgeries of the brain, ear and any other related surgery may lead to hyperacusis.


A person suffering from hyperacusis usually experiences inner ear pain or a feeling of fullness, like pressure, in the ears. This is the reason such people have a low threshold to sound, and find it difficult to take part in much social activities. They may in fact, consider themselves socially unfit, by not being able to withstand the sounds that are associated with social activities.


Hyperacusis sufferers usually end up with tinnitus (ringing sounds in the ears). Sometimes they may also find it difficult to sleep because of the stress level they suffer from. Another cause of hyperacusis is Phonophobia. Phonophobia is a condition where the person develops a fear of being exposed to some sounds, thinking that the sounds will damage their ear.


The best way of diagnosing hyperacusis is through hearing tests that detect sound sensitivity. Otolaryngologists, who are ear, nose and throat physicians, are also well versed in making a medical evaluation of hyperacusis.


The best treatment is through in-depth discussion of the tests performed to diagnose hyperacusis, explanation of the anatomy and physiology of hearing mechanism and how it is associated with hyperacusis helps control hyperacusis. This therapy focuses in educating the patient on hyperacusis, and to relieve their fears and concerns about it. Some patients may be advised Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), which is a habituation-oriented therapy.


With TRT, the patientís reactions to hyperacusis are reduced by using sound therapy. With the help of sound therapy, the patientís sensitivity to sounds is decreased, to help them view sound more positively. TRT is usually a combination of counseling and sound therapy where the patient is exposed to low-level sound for a few hours everyday.


Then there are alternative treatments where people are advised to take minerals like magnesium, zinc or herbal preparations like Ginkgo biloba, B vitamins or homeopathic remedies to help cure hyperacusis. Treatment varies with the patient, and the physician.


Jason Rickard is the owner of Your Favourite Shop - Offering White Noise and Relaxation CDs - Visit Hapa Health for more articles



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