What Is The Prevalence Of Hyperacusis
What Is The Prevalence Of Hyperacusis: Everyday sounds might become painfully loud, uncomfortable, and even scary when you have hyperacusis.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is frequently associated with it. Therapies can aid with symptom management.
What exactly is hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis is an uncommon hearing disease in which sounds that others deem regular appear uncomfortably – and often excruciatingly – loud to the person suffering from it. It is also referred to as decreased sound tolerance (DST).
People with normal hearing can distinguish between a variety of sounds with varied degrees of loudness. On the other hand, people with hyperacusis often experience noises at excessively high volumes.
Familiar sounds in everyday life that might be uncomfortable for people with hyperacusis include:
People are conversing with one another.
An automobile engine in motion.
The sink has running water.
I am running home electrical appliances.
Someone is flipping over the pages of a book or newspaper.
There are numerous other silent sounds.
This event might significantly impact your mental health, making you irritated and worried. Hyperacusis can also have an impact on your social life. Some hyperacusis patients avoid social events to lessen their chances of experiencing severe loudness.
Tinnitus, a disorder generally connected with hearing loss that causes your ears to ring, whistle, click, or boom, is frequently related to hyperacusis. However, not all cases of hyperacusis are accompanied by tinnitus or hearing loss.
What is the prevalence of hyperacusis?
Doctors are still learning about hyperacusis, particularly how widespread it is. Researchers estimate that hyperacusis affects 3.2% to 17.1% of children and adolescents and 8% to 15.2% of adults.
However, it is difficult to say how widespread it is. Individual experiences with hyperacusis lead to diverse descriptions of symptoms. Furthermore, many globally acknowledged methods for identifying or measuring hyperacusis exist. Hyperacusis is still a mystery, and scientists have yet to determine its prevalence.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperacusis?
It sounds that other people consider ordinary may become unpleasant, uncomfortably loud, uncomfortable, or even scary if you have hyperacusis. The noise can be unpleasant or so intense that you lose equilibrium or experience convulsions.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
There is ringing in the ears.
The ear hurts.
An ear sense of fullness or pressure (similar to what you feel on an aeroplane before your ears “pop”).
These symptoms might have a significant impact on your mental health as well as your social life. Constantly being bombarded by powerful, unpleasant sounds might result in the following:
Isolation and avoidance in social situations.
Symptoms may worsen when you are upset or exhausted or when you are in settings that you are afraid will be too loud.
What is the cause of hyperacusis?
Researchers are still attempting to figure out what causes hyperacusis. It is believed that the brain regions that control the perception of stimuli cause sounds to appear louder.
The brain interprets noises as loud in hyperacusis regardless of frequency – or whether the sound is in the low range (like thunder), middle range (like human speaking), or high range (like a siren or whistle).
There are various hypotheses. Hyperacusis may be caused by injury to sections of the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve transmits sound information from the inner ear to the brain, allowing humans to hear.
Another notion is that hyperacusis is caused by facial nerve injury. The facial nerve modulates the strength of sound in your ear through the stapedius muscle.
Many hyperacusis-related disorders (Bell’s palsy, Ramsay-Hunt syndrome, and Lyme disease) are connected with facial nerve injury.
Nonetheless, no single aetiology may account for all cases of hyperacusis. Instead, there could be several contributing causes and circumstances.
Factors that contribute include:
Long-term exposure to loud sounds: People who have been exposed to loud music for an extended period, such as rock musicians, or who work in noisy surroundings, such as construction workers, are more likely to develop hyperacusis.
Sudden exposure to loud sounds: Some persons acquire hyperacusis after hearing a loud noise, such as a gunshot or fireworks.
Tinnitus (in up to 86% of persons with the illness) and Williams syndrome (in up to 90% of people with the condition) are frequently associated with hyperacusis. Nearly half of the persons with hyperacusis also have a behavioural condition, such as anxiety.
Hyperacusis is connected with the following conditions:
Bell’s palsy is a type of palsy.
Infections of the ears (otitis media).
Ménière’s disease is a type of cancer.
The Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
Syndrome of superior canal dehiscence (SCDS).
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
The Williams syndrome.
Some patients experience hyperacusis symptoms after surgery or as a result of a drug.
DIAGNOSTIC AND TESTING
How is hyperacusis identified?
Because not all healthcare practitioners are experienced with hyperacusis, diagnosis can be challenging. It’s possible that identifying the issue will necessitate visits to both an ENT and an audiologist.
The following diagnoses are possible:
History: A healthcare provider will investigate any risk factors, such as behavioural issues (anxiety or depression), loud noise exposure, or hearing impairment.
They will examine your ear for structural issues related to your hyperacusis—Tympanometry, which measures how your eardrum moves, may be performed on you.
You can evaluate your cranial nerves to see if your facial nerve function is affected.
Hearing exams: You will be subjected to hearing tests to establish your hearing abilities. They may also determine your level of loudness (LDL). The LDL level indicates the level at which noise becomes unbearably loud.
The healthcare professional may also ask you to complete a hearing questionnaire to establish the severity of your hyperacusis. These questions help you determine how much hyperacusis impacts your daily life.
If your doctor feels that your hyperacusis is caused by a structural condition, such as facial nerve palsy, they may conduct imaging studies.
If they feel that your hyperacusis is caused by an illness such as Lyme disease, he or they may also order laboratory tests.
TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
What is the treatment for hyperacusis?
Hyperacusis has no conventional treatment. Treatment mainly consists of alleviating physical symptoms and learning coping methods to deal with the psychological anguish of hyperacusis. Treatment options include:
Sound therapy aims to gradually (and safely) expose you to more robust and louder noises until the experience becomes pleasant. You will initially hear sounds at a pleasant, low volume. Increase the level gradually over a few weeks so that you develop accustomed to louder sounds.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT teaches you how to handle the tension and unpleasant sensations associated with loud noises. It alleviates the worry and terror that come with hyperacusis.
Studies have proven CBT to enhance loudness discomfort (LDL) levels in persons with hyperacusis.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT): TRT is typically used to treat tinnitus but can also treat hyperacusis. TRT includes education regarding the patient’s condition, counselling, and proper treatment.
During TRT, you will use special headphones to listen to “pink noise,” a soothing sound. Pink noise resembles the sound of rain or wind.
Pink noise creates a quiet, predictable sound environment, making sounds that aren’t as bad as they would be.
Surgery: If facial nerve palsy is the cause of your hyperacusis, your doctor may do round and oval window amplification.
The inner ear bones (ossicles) that control the loudness of sounds are kept in good shape by using tissue behind the ear. This technique lowers LDL cholesterol.
Is hyperacusis curable?
There is no cure for hyperacusis, but symptoms may improve with time, depending on the source.
For example, hyperacusis following a surgical operation may resolve once you recover. People suffering from Ménière’s disease may notice improvements as the disease progresses to remission.
What can I expect if I am diagnosed with this disease?
Doctors and medical experts are actively investigating the long-term repercussions of hyperacusis.
For many people, hyperacusis is a chronic illness that requires therapy. Others have symptoms that go away after surgery or when the underlying problem is treated.
LIVING IN CONNECTION WITH
When should I make an appointment with my doctor?
Many people who suffer from hyperacusis initially try to block out the sounds around them with earplugs or headphones. They may shun social interaction. However, these procedures may exacerbate the condition.
People who wear headphones or earplugs may perceive it more strongly once they remove them, and social isolation can cause (or worsen) health problems.
Do not attempt to address the symptoms on your own. Consult a doctor instead if you are suffering from hyperacusis symptoms. It may take some time to identify the problem’s source, but treatments are available.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is hyperacusis a mental disorder?
Hyperacusis is not a mental disorder. Hyperacusis is a hearing loss frequently related to mental diseases, including anxiety and sadness.
Living with hyperacusis’s high volume can impact your emotional health. Isolation to protect your hearing and fear of noise might aggravate hyperacusis symptoms.
If you hear uncomfortably loud sounds, get medical attention.
It’s possible that using earplugs or headphones with active noise cancellation to drown out the noise will make your condition worse. It may take time to figure out what’s wrong, but there are remedies for whatever ails you.
People suffering from hyperacusis can benefit from proper treatment and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Treatment may be beneficial if an underlying ailment is causing hyperacusis.
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