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Sally Lavender

Hearing Therapy Lead

How do you test for hyperacusis?

Posted on 2022-02-17 16:28:00 in General

While it is normal to find some sounds uncomfortable, people with Hyperacusis experience intolerance of everyday sounds, which significantly impacts their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

What are common signs of Hyperacusis?

People with Hyperacusis usually report discomfort when hearing certain loud sounds. They can also experience physical sensations such as headache, sensitivity to light, and/or sensitivity to strong smells.  

Is Hyperacusis different to recruitment?

Yes, Hyperacusis is different to recruitment. Recruitment can be experienced by people with hearing loss. For a person with recruitment, quiet sounds may not be loud enough to hear, but loud sounds are still as loud as would be expected for anyone else. This reduces the difference between sounds that are comfortably and uncomfortably audible for the person. For example, someone talking may raise their voice for the person with recruitment to be able to hear but speaking only slightly louder may seem uncomfortable to the person with recruitment, as if they are being shouted at. Recruitment can be a source of discomfort.  

The Four different types of hyperacusis

Hyperacusis can occur with or without hearing loss. There are four types of hyperacusis: Loudness, Fear, Pain and Annoyance. Misophonia is a similar condition to Annoyance Hyperacusis.  

Loudness Hyperacusis

For people with Loudness Hyperacusis loud sounds are felt to be uncomfortable.

Fear Hyperacusis

When a negative experience of sound leads to sound avoidance, this is called Fear Hyperacusis.

Pain Hyperacusis

For people with Pain Hyperacusis loud sounds are experienced as painful.

Annoyance Hyperacusis

For someone with Annoyance Hyperacusis certain trigger sounds will cause a negative emotional reaction. 

What is Misphonia?

Misophonia is like Annoyance Hyperacusis but usually the trigger sounds are human made. In contrast to other types of Hyperacusis, the trigger sounds for Annoyance Hyperacusis and Misophonia  are not usually notably loud. Examples of Annoyance Hyperacusis trigger sounds include pen clicking and clock ticking. Trigger sounds more associated with Misophonia include chewing noises and lip smacking.  

How can hyperacusis be assessed?

Hyperacusis can be assessed with the use of interviewing and questionnaires. Sometimes, Audiologists (professionals who assess and manage hearing and balance problems) will assess how loud different pitched sounds can get before a person finds them uncomfortable. These levels are called Uncomfortable Loudness Levels (ULLs). While people with Hyperacusis generally have lower ULLs, there is no universally agreed level which tells us whether someone has Hyperacusis or not; this will have more to do with the impact the sensitivity to sound is having on their activities of daily life.  

How can I tell if I have hyperacusis?

Sometimes Hyperacusis can be associated with other conditions such as Migraine, head injury or Lyme disease. In these cases, Hyperacusis may be curable.

What causes hyperacusis?

For many people there may not be a clear cause for their Hyperacusis but there are still ways to help them manage their Hyperacusis. Management options for Hyperacusis include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

If you are experiencing hearing difficulties, contact Chime. You can also reach out to us to request advice, or alternatively can take a free online hearing test. Learn more about Chime and what we can offer.

How do you test for hyperacusis?