What is Hyperacusis?

The definition of what Hyperacusis is can sometimes be unclear as it varies.

Hyperacusis is described as intolerance to a level of sound and people with hyperacusis reach a point at which sounds are too loud, even at lower physical levels.

Other terms used to describe decreased sound tolerance include phonophobia, the fear of a particular sound, and misophonia, a “negative reaction to a sound with a specific pattern and meaning,” according to Myriam Wescott, specialist Australian hyperacusis audiologist on The Project this year. Hyperacusis is a negative reaction to a sound that depends only on the sound’s physical characteristics, such as spectrum and intensity. Some of the other terms used are Decreased Sound Tolerance (DST), Hyperacusis, Misophonia and Phonophobia.

There seem to be four symptoms of hyperacusis: loudness, annoyance, fear, and pain. We see all of these different reactions in the clinic, however epidemiological data on hyperacusis is lacking, so it’s hard to know how much overlap actually occurs. We find that that those who suffer from Tinnitus often have significant sound tolerance issues that need addressing.

The good news is that there are treatments available that are effective.

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All information is provided in the interests of Hearing Health education and is of a general nature. In all cases you should consult your doctor or other allied health professional for advice regarding your individual circumstances.