Overview of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is a condition in which you become highly sensitive to normal everyday sounds. It is also known as sound or noise sensitivity.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is a condition in which you become highly sensitive to normal everyday sounds. It is also known as sound or noise sensitivity. In this condition, certain sounds become unbearably loud which is normal to others. It can affect your career and social life. In hyperacusis, very normal sounds such as TV, talking to a friend or even your own voice makes you feel uncomfortable. High-pitched voices can cause pain and anxiety.

Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder but people with it have the normal hearing ability.

Occurrence of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is a rare condition. It occurs in 1 out of 50,000 people. However, its occurrence is increasing due to loud noise exposure.

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Types of Hyperacusis

Some common symptoms of hyperacusis are:

  • Ear pain
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble connecting with others (social isolation and avoidance)
  • A running faucet

 Some sounds that might seem louder than they should include:

  • A kitchen appliance, like a refrigerator or dishwasher
  • A loud conversation
  • A car engine
  • Loss of balance or seizures.

Causes of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis can occur in two forms: cochlear and vestibular

  • Cochlear Hyperacusis: This is the most common form of hyperacusis. It causes pain in the ear, frustration, and a feeling of intolerance to normal sounds.
  • Vestibular Hyperacusis: This condition causes nausea, dizziness, and loss of balance in absence of particular sounds.

Risk Factors of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis can affect all age groups. It can influence your one or both ears. Typically, this condition is not present at the time of birth. It can develop suddenly or over a period of time. Some reasons for hyperacusis occurrence are:

  • Lyme disease
  • Exposure to loud noise (causing damage to the cochlea)
  • Head injury
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Viral infections that affect the inner ear or facial nerve
  • Williams syndrome
  • Ear damage due to toxins or medication
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Airbag deployment
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • children with autism or cerebral palsy (in rare cases)

Although the exact reason for hyperacusis is unknown, however, theories include:

  • Damage to a portion of the auditory nerve
  • Malfunction of the ear’s protective hearing mechanisms,
  • A Problem with the central processing system,
  • A malfunction of the auditory nerve



Some of the most common risk factors of hyperacusis are:

  • An injury to your head (for instance, one caused by an airbag)
  • A viral infection that affects your inner ear or facial nerve (Bell's palsy)
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Damage to one or both ears because of medications or toxins
  • Migraine headaches
  • Lyme disease
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Certain kinds of epilepsy
  • Using Valium regularly
  • Meniere's disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Williams syndrome
  • Surgery on your jaw or face


There is no definite preventive measure for hyperacusis. But a person should manage the noise exposure. Also, try to listen to music at a reduced volume. Make sure to wear ear protection.

Treatment of Hyperacusis | When to Consult a Doctor

Hyperacusis can be diagnosed by:

  • Physical examination
  • Knowledge of medical history
  • Hearing test for confirmation

Doctors to treat Hyperacusis

Last updated on Tuesday 25/10/2022


Dr. Tahira Aleem

Audiologist | MBBS, MS

Dr. Ziauddin Hospital (North Nazimabad)Rs 1500

National Medical Centre (Karachi)Rs 1500


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Highly Recommended


Dr. Shahana Azmat

Audiologist | MBBS, Mphil

KS Medical CentreRs 2500


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Highly Recommended

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