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Hyperacusis Specialist

Priority Hearing and Tinnitus

Audiology located in Maricopa, AZ & San Tan Valley, AZ

Hyperacusis is a difficult condition that makes you so sensitive to normal sounds that they become painful and interfere with your ability to work, sleep, or enjoy friends and family. Devin Anderson, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA, and the team at Priority Hearing and Tinnitus in Maricopa and San Tan Valley, Arizona, have extensive experience helping patients overcome hyperacusis, so they can return to the life they enjoy. If your hearing is hypersensitive, call one of the offices or book an appointment online today.

Hyperacusis Q & A

What is hyperacusis?

Hyperacusis is a rare hearing disorder that makes you overly sensitive to sounds. As a result, sounds that are normal for most people are unbearable and even painful to you. Even a soft sound, such as rustling paper, may bother you.

Hyperacusis impacts nearly every aspect of your life. You may stop going out to places where you used to socialize or find that you can’t bear to listen to conversations. Hyperacusis may affect your ability to concentrate. Many patients develop anxiety or fear of being exposed to sounds that are startling and uncomfortable.

Most patients with hyperacusis don’t have hearing loss. However, they may have a hard time hearing in noisy environments, a condition called auditory processing difficulty.

What causes hyperacusis?

Exposure to loud noise or music often triggers the problem. However, many different health conditions and disorders are associated with hyperacusis, including:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Depression
  • Autism

You may develop hyperacusis after a viral infection in your ear, surgery to your jaw or face, or following head trauma. 

How do audiologists diagnose hyperacusis?

When you go to your first appointment, your provider at Priority Hearing and Tinnitus reviews your medical history and does a physical exam. You also have a hearing test or audiogram, which shows the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies.

How do audiologists treat hyperacusis?

Customized earmolds can help by blocking out certain sounds while still letting you hear others. However, standard earplugs that block out all sound aren’t recommended for hyperacusis. You may become more hypersensitive when you remove the earplugs.

Desensitization therapy is another possible treatment for hyperacusis. This therapy uses a device that’s similar to a hearing aid and plays a low-level sound. 

After listening to this sound for a specific amount of time every day, your auditory nerves and brain become desensitized. As a result, you can tolerate normal sounds again.

Desensitization is often successful. However, it can take three months to two years of listening to the sound before you see an improvement. 

If you’re hypersensitive to sounds, help is available at Priority Hearing and Tinnitus. Call one of the offices or book an appointment online today.