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Hyperacusis, an auditory nightmare

  1. Hyperacusis is a condition that turns thousands of lives every year, which is more and more common in our loud western world, and for which there is no cure. Imagine that the most ordinary sounds are way too loud, that the softest sounds scare you to death, and that louder sounds are unbearable. Anyone affected by this auditory nightmare lives in daily fear and bewilderment that such a thing actually exists.

What's wrong?

  1. The ears have become hypersensitive and have their so-called dynamic range

What does this mean?

  1. Depending on the degree of hyperacusis, there is more or less a significantly poorer quality of life

Perception of sounds that others cannot hear

  1. Hearing is perception. High sounds often cause additional difficulties for the hyperacusis patient. Inaudible sounds or barely audible sounds are perceived effortlessly, even at horrendous levels. This can be very far-reaching: Signals emitting TV sets, anti-burglary systems, telephone answerers, printers, dimmers, electric doors, electric bug repellants, sounding coins and keys, dog whistles, footsteps, car brakes, squeaky wheels on prams, etc. Now there are many sounds that healthy people would also have difficulty hearing, but remarkable is the fact that some hyperacusis patients can hear just as much and much more than a child (which theoretically perceives up to 20,000 hz). It doesn't seem to be a problem or even an advantage to hear so great, but the opposite is true. The extra high frequencies

What are the causes?

  1. There are many types of hyperacusis

What can be done about it?

  1. First of all, the patient can have their LDL levels tested at an Audiology Center. LDL means Loudness Discomfort Levels

Please note the following

  1. If the doctor wants to have an MRI scan, please let yourself be well informed about why this should be done. The test emits a noise of 120 dB, a strength well above the tolerance level of someone with hyperacusis. Usually, the test does not indicate any abnormality related to hyperacusis. What often happens is that the hyperacusis gets worse, and some patients got it right through this test. Also watch out for other tests, viz. the stapedius reflex test and some hearing tests. Always ask in advance what to expect. Most doctors in the Netherlands have no idea what hyperacusis is

Hyperacusis variants

  1. Soft Sound Sensitivity Syndrome

Hyperacusis as a symptom of depression

  1. What came before, the hyperacusis or the depression? It is logical to think that hyperacusis promotes depression, and this has been proven. However, with central hyperacusis, there is also the possibility that it is caused by a too low serotonin level. Some neurological conditions are known in which hyperacusis is one of the symptoms. A common factor is a 5-HT disruption

Problematic noises with hyperacusis

  1. Hyperacusis is a matter of decibels in relation to sound frequencies

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