Can Hyperacusis be Treated?

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

Pain is your body’s method of supplying information. It’s not a terribly enjoyable approach but it can be beneficial. When your ears start to feel the pain of a very loud megaphone near you, you know damage is occurring and you can take steps to move further away or at least cover your ears.

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

Heightened sound sensitivity

Hyperacusis is a hypersensitivity to sound. Most people with hyperacusis have episodes that are activated by a specific group of sounds (usually sounds within a frequency range). Quiet noises will frequently sound extremely loud. And loud noises seem even louder.

No one’s quite certain what causes hyperacusis, although it’s frequently associated with tinnitus or other hearing problems (and, in some instances, neurological issues). There’s a noticeable degree of personal variability with the symptoms, severity, and treatment of hyperacusis.

What’s a typical hyperacusis response?

Here’s how hyperacusis, in most cases, will look and feel::

  • You might experience pain and buzzing in your ears (this pain and buzzing could last for days or weeks after you hear the original sound).
  • Everyone else will think a specific sound is quiet but it will sound very loud to you.
  • The louder the sound is, the more powerful your response and discomfort will be.
  • Balance problems and dizziness can also be experienced.

Hyperacusis treatment treatment

When your hyperacusis makes you sensitive to a wide assortment of frequencies, the world can be like a minefield. You never know when a pleasant night out will suddenly become an audio onslaught that will leave you with ringing ears and a three-day migraine.

That’s why it’s so essential to get treatment. There are various treatments available depending on your particular situation and we can help you choose one that’s best for you. The most popular options include the following.

Masking devices

A device known as a masking device is one of the most common treatments for hyperacusis. While it may sound perfect for Halloween (sorry), actually though, a masking device is a piece of technology that cancels out select wavelengths of sounds. These devices, then, can selectively hide those triggering wavelengths of sound before they ever get to your ear. If you can’t hear the triggering sound, you won’t have a hyperacusis episode.


A less state-of-the-art approach to this basic method is earplugs: if all sound is stopped, there’s no chance of a hyperacusis episode. There are undoubtedly some drawbacks to this low tech method. There’s some evidence to suggest that, over time, the earplugs can throw your hearing ecosystem even further out of whack and make your hyperacusis worse. Consult us if you’re considering wearing earplugs.

Ear retraining

One of the most thorough approaches to managing hyperacusis is known as ear retraining therapy. You’ll try to change the way you react to certain kinds of sounds by employing physical therapy, emotional counseling, and a mix of devices. Training yourself to dismiss sounds is the basic idea. 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

There are also some less common methods for treating hyperacusis, including medications or ear tubes. These strategies are less commonly used, depending on the specialist and the person, because they have delivered mixed results.

A huge difference can come from treatment

Depending on how you experience your symptoms, which vary from person to person, a specialized treatment plan can be created. There’s no single best approach to managing hyperacusis, it really depends on finding 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.