Man troubled by bothersome noises holding hands over his ears to block them out.

Pain is your body’s means of delivering information. It’s an effective strategy though not a very enjoyable one. When your ears begin to feel the pain of a very loud megaphone near you, you know damage is occurring and you can take measures to move further away or at least cover your ears.

But for around 8-10% of individuals, quiet sounds can be perceived as painfully loud, despite their measured decibel level. This affliction is known by experts as hyperacusis. This is the medical label for excessively sensitive ears. There’s no cure for hyperacusis, but there are treatments that can help you get a handle on your symptoms.

Increased sensitivity to sound

Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Most of the time sounds in a particular frequency cause episodes of hyperacusis for individuals who experience it. Quiet noises will frequently sound really loud. And loud noises seem even louder.

No one’s quite certain what causes hyperacusis, though it’s frequently related to tinnitus or other hearing issues (and, in some cases, neurological concerns). There’s a significant degree of personal variability with the symptoms, severity, and treatment of hyperacusis.

What’s a typical hyperacusis response?

Here’s how hyperacusis, in most situations, will look and feel::

  • The louder the sound is, the more powerful your response and pain will be.
  • Everybody else will think a certain sound is quiet but it will sound extremely loud to you.
  • Balance issues and dizziness can also be experienced.
  • After you hear the initial sound, you could experience pain and hear buzzing for days or even weeks.

Hyperacusis treatment treatment

When your hyperacusis makes you vulnerable to a wide variety of frequencies, the world can seem like a minefield. You never know when a lovely night out will suddenly become an audio onslaught that will leave you with ringing ears and a three-day migraine.

That’s why treatment is so important. There are a variety of treatments available depending on your particular situation and we can help you choose one that’s best for you. The most popular options include the following.

Masking devices

A device known as a masking device is one of the most common treatments for hyperacusis. While it might sound perfect for Halloween (sorry), in reality, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out certain wavelengths of sounds. These devices, then, have the ability to selectively mask those triggering wavelengths of sound before they ever get to your ear. If you can’t hear the offending sound, you won’t have a hyperacusis attack.


Earplugs are a less state-of-the-art take on the same basic approach: if all sound is stopped, there’s no chance of a hyperacusis incident. There are definitely some drawbacks to this low tech strategy. Your overall hearing problems, including hyperacusis, may worsen by using this approach, according to some evidence. Consult us if you’re thinking about wearing earplugs.

Ear retraining

One of the most in-depth approaches to managing hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll attempt to change the way you respond to specific kinds of sounds by utilizing physical therapy, emotional counseling, and a mix of devices. The idea is that you can train yourself to ignore sounds (kind of like with tinnitus). Normally, this approach has a good success rate but depends heavily on your dedication to the process.

Strategies that are less prevalent

Less prevalent methods, like ear tubes or medication, are also used to manage hyperacusis. These approaches are less commonly used, depending on the specialist and the person, because they have delivered mixed success.

A huge difference can come from treatment

Depending on how you experience your symptoms, which differ from person to person, a unique treatment plan can be created. There’s no single best approach to treating hyperacusis, it really depends on choosing the best treatment for you.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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