Can Hyperacusis be Treated?

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

One way your body offers information to you is through pain response. It’s an effective method though not a really enjoyable one. When that megaphone you’re standing near goes too loud, the pain lets you know that major ear damage is happening and you immediately (if you’re smart) cover your ears or remove yourself from that extremely loud environment.

But for around 8-10% of people, quiet sounds can be detected as painfully loud, in spite of their measured decibel level. Hearing specialists refer to this condition as hyperacusis. This is the medical term 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

Hyperacusis is a hypersensitivity to sound. The majority of people with hyperacusis have episodes that are brought about by a specific group of sounds (typically sounds within a frequency range). Normally, quiet noises sound loud. And loud noises seem even louder.

Hyperacusis is often linked to tinnitus, hearing problems, and even neurological issues, though no one really knows what actually causes it. With regards to symptoms, intensity, and treatment, there is a significant degree of personal variability.

What’s a normal hyperacusis response?

In most instances, hyperacusis will look and feel something like this:

  • The louder the sound is, the more powerful your response and discomfort will be.
  • You may also experience dizziness and trouble keeping your balance.
  • Everybody else will think a certain sound is quiet but it will sound very loud to you.
  • After you hear the initial sound, you could experience pain and hear buzzing for days or even weeks.

Treatments for hyperacusis

When your hyperacusis makes you vulnerable to a wide range of frequencies, the world can be like a minefield. You never know when a pleasant night out will suddenly turn into an audio onslaught that will leave you with ringing ears and an intense migraine.

That’s why treatment is so essential. You’ll want to come in and talk with us about which treatments will be your best option (this all tends to be rather variable). The most common options include the following.

Masking devices

One of the most commonly implemented treatments for hyperacusis is something called a masking device. While it may sound perfect for Halloween (sorry), actually though, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out specific wavelengths of sounds. So those offensive frequencies can be removed before they get to your ears. You can’t have a hyperacusis attack if you can’t hear the triggering sound!


A less state-of-the-art strategy to this basic method is earplugs: if all sound is blocked, there’s no chance of a hyperacusis incident. It’s undoubtedly a low-tech approach, and there are some drawbacks. Your general hearing problems, including hyperacusis, may worsen by using this strategy, according to some evidence. Consult us if you’re considering wearing earplugs.

Ear retraining

An strategy, known as ear retraining therapy, is one of the most comprehensive hyperacusis treatments. You’ll attempt to change how you respond to specific kinds of sounds by utilizing physical therapy, emotional counseling, and a mix of devices. Training yourself to ignore sounds is the basic idea. Normally, this approach has a good success rate but depends heavily on your commitment to the process.

Less common methods

There are also some less common methods for treating hyperacusis, including medications or ear tubes. Both of these strategies have met with only varying results, so they aren’t as frequently used (it’ll depend on the person and the specialist).

A big difference can come from treatment

Because hyperacusis has a tendency to differ from person to person, an individual treatment plan can be developed depending on your symptoms as you encounter them. There’s no single best approach to managing hyperacusis, it really depends on choosing the best treatment for you.

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.