A Link Between Hyperacusis & Hearing Loss

A Link Between Hyperacusis & Hearing Loss

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Do some sounds seem unbearably loud? Is it physically painful to listen to certain sounds? This sensitivity to sound is called hyperacusis. It can be a confusing experience for you and for your loved ones.

What Is Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is an extreme sensitivity to ordinary sounds.  Approximately 6% of Americans report sensitivity to everyday sounds. These sounds can make your ears hurt and bring both physical and emotional discomfort. The symptoms of hyperacusis include:

  • Pain in one or both ears
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear, as if the ear is plugged
  • A sensation of thumping or pulsing in the ear
  • Experiencing dizziness or vertigo

What Triggers Hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis sensitivity usually comes and goes. For many people, hyperacusis can be triggered by a very loud noise or an unfamiliar sound. You may start to experience daily pain that can be intense for several days or weeks. It can also include sharp pain, throbbing in the ears, or a headache. It can fade over time, and you may not notice any pain for several weeks.

Can You Have Both Tinnitus and Hyperacusis?

Another common symptom of hyperacusis is tinnitus. This phantom noise is a sound that only you can hear. It makes it difficult to focus on tasks, follow conversations, or rest and relax in the evening. Approximately one in three people with hyperacusis also experience tinnitus. Many people with tinnitus report that the phantom sounds are more noticeable when the world is very quiet. For example, tinnitus may be at its loudest during the night when you’re trying to sleep. 

However, people with both hyperacusis and tinnitus often notice that tinnitus gets louder and more noticeable when there are other loud sounds in the environment. For example, tinnitus may seem much louder when they walk by a noisy construction site or mow the lawn.

What’s the Difference Between Tinnitus and Hyperacusis?

While tinnitus and hyperacusis may be present at the same time, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. Tinnitus is a persistent buzzing or ringing sound in the ears. No one else can hear this sound, and it’s all in your head. Hyperacusis is a sensitivity to sound. Others around you can also hear this sound, but they don’t find the sound uncomfortable.

Tinnitus often gets worse when everything around you is very quiet, and the only thing you can hear is your tinnitus. Hyperacusis, on the other hand, gets worse when there are other sounds in your environment. 

A Link Between Hyperacusis and Hearing Loss

A recent study published in 2021 found that having tinnitus can increase your risk of having hyperacusis. These conditions can occur at the same time and even influence each other. Tinnitus can also increase the symptoms of hyperacusis, making the condition even more painful. Many people with tinnitus also experience hearing loss, so if you think you may have hyperacusis, it’s important to book a hearing test.

Treating Hyperacusis and Hearing Loss

If you have hyperacusis along with tinnitus or hearing loss, a hearing aid can treat hearing loss as well as reduce your experience of hyperacusis. Hearing aids can be programmed to match your unique hearing needs. You have full control of the settings, and you can turn down the volume on painful sounds. At the same time, hearing aids can amplify soft sounds to treat hearing loss.

Hearing aids can also treat tinnitus. Advanced tinnitus management programs can give your tinnitus relief. This program plays soft sounds that match your tinnitus. It will help your tinnitus fade into the background and reduce your experience of tinnitus.

Treating Hearing Loss in the New Year

Are you ready to find relief from hyperacusis, or treat your hearing loss? Visit us to get started! We’ll help you get to the bottom of your symptoms, whether you’re experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or hyperacusis. Next, we’ll work with you to find the perfect treatment options for your hearing needs.

We work with the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers to bring you a huge selection of hearing devices. Whether you want a hearing aid with connectivity features, a rechargeable battery, or the best in tinnitus management, we have the hearing aid for you. Call today to book your hearing test and consultation.