HYPERACUSIS

Hyperacusis has been defined as ‘unusual tolerance to ordinary environmental sounds’ and, more pejoratively, as ‘consistently exaggerated or inappropriate responses to sounds that are neither threatening nor uncomfortably loud to a typical person’. This means loud noises, such as fireworks, and everyday sounds like telephones can feel uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It can vary in its severity, from being a mild inconvenience to a life-changing condition.

The condition can affect children and adults, but is considered rare, occurring in an estimated one in 50,000 people.

It can be caused by a number of factors.

  • Damage to the cochlea from exposure to loud noises such as those experienced at certain work environments, rock concerts, gunfire, air bag deployment in cars and fireworks.
  • Head injury
  • Tinnitus
  • Acoustic trauma, adverse reactions to medicine or surgeries,
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders

Symptoms

  • Sudden discomfort when hearing particular sounds.
  • Fear of noise.

This condition can also be linked to anxiety and depression

Treatment

Auditory desensitization can be used to overcome the hypersensitivity to sounds in autistic children

 

Child Development Centre

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