Hyperacusis is a collapsed tolerance to normal environmental sounds. Someone with hyperacusis hears sound much louder and much more painful than someone without. A person with normal hearing can tolerate noise without pain up to approximately 120dB, while humming refrigerators, ordinary voices and other daily noises can be excruciating for those with hyperacusis (people often suggest that average conversational speech is at 65dB).(J. Galster, personal communication, September 14, 2015)
People with hyperacusis lose most of their dynamic range, the ability of the ear to deal with quick shifts in sound loudness. It can go almost unnoticeable to some with the condition, but for others it can be life altering.
In most cases, people who suffer from hyperacusis also suffer from tinnitus. Sound therapy can be very beneficial for patients diagnosed with either of these conditions.
Since there is no medicinal or surgical treatment to cure hyperacusis, listening to soothing, low-level sounds like those on the Starkey Relax app for tinnitus is the most effective therapy to ease symptoms. This will help the brain readjust to normal environmental sounds throughout day-to-day tasks. Other sound therapies may be recommended by a medical or hearing professional to ease symptoms as well.
If hearing is actively painful for you or you suspect you may have hyperacusis, seek an evaluation by a local hearing care professional or otolaryngologist.
Baguley, D. M. & McFerran, D. (2010). Hyperacusis. British Tinnitus Association. Retrieved from: http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/hyperacusis
The Hyperacusis Network. (2015). Retrieved from: www.hyperacusis.net.