Can Hyperacusis be Treated?

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

One way your body delivers information to you is through pain response. It’s not a very fun approach but it can be effective. When your ears start to feel the pain of a very loud megaphone near you, you know damage is happening and you can take steps to move further away or at least cover your ears.

But, in spite of their minimal volume, 8-10% of people will feel pain from quiet sounds too. This affliction is referred to by experts as hyperacusis. This is the medical term for overly sensitive ears. The symptoms of hyperacusis can be managed but there’s no cure.

Increased sensitivity to sound

Hypersensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis. Usually sounds in a specific frequency trigger episodes of hyperacusis for people who suffer from it. Usually, quiet noises sound loud. And noises that are loud sound a lot louder than they actually are.

Hyperacusis is frequently associated with tinnitus, hearing trouble, and even neurological issues, although no one really knows what actually causes it. With regards to symptoms, intensity, and treatment, there is a noticeable degree of individual variability.

What kind of response is normal for hyperacusis?

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

  • Everyone else will think a certain sound is quiet but it will sound very loud to you.
  • The louder the sound is, the more intense your response and pain will be.
  • You might also experience dizziness and difficulty keeping your balance.
  • You might notice pain and buzzing in your ears (this pain and buzzing could last for days or weeks after you hear the original sound).

Hyperacusis treatment treatment

When you have hyperacusis the world can become a minefield, especially when your ears are overly sensitive to a wide assortment of frequencies. Your hearing could be assaulted and you could be left with a horrible headache and ringing ears anytime you go out.

That’s why treatment is so important. You’ll want to come in and speak with us about which treatments will be most up your alley (this all tends to be quite variable). Here are some of the most prevalent options:

Masking devices

A device known as a masking device is one of the most common treatments for hyperacusis. While it might sound ideal for Halloween (sorry), in reality, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out certain wavelengths of sounds. So those offensive frequencies can be eliminated before they get to your ears. If you can’t hear the triggering sound, you won’t have a hyperacusis attack.


A less sophisticated approach to this basic method is earplugs: if all sound is blocked, there’s no chance of a hyperacusis episode. There are certainly some drawbacks to this low tech approach. There’s some research that suggests that, over time, the earplugs can throw your hearing ecosystem even further off and make your hyperacusis worse. Consult us if you’re considering wearing earplugs.

Ear retraining

One of the most thorough approaches to treating hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll try to change how you react to specific types of sounds by using physical therapy, emotional counseling, and a mix of devices. The concept is that you can train yourself to disregard sounds (kind of like with tinnitus). Normally, this approach has a good rate of success but depends a great deal on your dedication to the process.

Strategies that are less common

Less prevalent strategies, like ear tubes or medication, are also used to manage hyperacusis. Both of these strategies have met with only varying success, so they aren’t as commonly utilized (it’ll depend on the person and the specialist).

Treatment makes a big difference

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