How to Cope With Having Hyperacusis

Three Methods:Understanding HyperacusisCoping With Hyperacusis DailyUndergoing Treatment

Hyperacusis, or hyperacousis, is a condition that causes people to develop an increased and potentially painful sensitivity to everyday noises. Although little is known about the exact causes of this condition, imagine living in a world in which a barking dog, a clanking dish, a noisy printer, or squeaking brakes caused you discomfort or even unbearable agony and the people around you couldn’t understand why. It can be helpful to educate yourself about this condition, learn how to cope on a daily basis, and explore some of the common treatment options.

Method 1
Understanding Hyperacusis

  1. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 1
    Learn about this condition. An important part of coping with hyperacusis is educating yourself about this condition so you are better able to deal with it and pursue treatment options. While it’s a good idea to also conduct your own research from reputable websites and publications and talk with medical professionals about hyperacusis, here are a few points to keep in mind:[1][2][3][4]
    • Hyperacusis is often described as having a reduced tolerance for everyday or ordinary sounds.
    • It is considered a rare condition, with an estimated 1 in 50,000 people experiencing hyperacusis.
    • The condition can occur suddenly or worsen over time.
    • Hyperacusis affects both children and adults.
    • Some people report that only one ear was initially affected, but most individuals experience hyperacusis in both ears.
  2. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 2
    Consider your symptoms. The main symptom of hyperacusis is an increased and very painful sensitivity to noises that other people are not affected by. People with hyperacusis often find these types of noises excruciating and unbearable:[5][6]
    • Clanking silverware and dishes.
    • Barking dogs.
    • Automobile noises.
    • Alarms, sirens, and bells.
    • Loud music and musical instruments.
    • Machinery, electronic noises, equipment, and household appliances.
    • Screaming, whistling, laughter, clapping, and shouting.
    • People with hyperacusis also commonly suffer from tinnitus, or ringing, buzzing, humming, or beating in their ears.[7]
    • Because it can be so painful to interact with people and the outside world, individuals with this condition often experience anxiety and feelings of isolation, which can make it challenging to cope with hyperacusis.[8]
  3. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 3
    Recognize risk factors and common causes. While there’s much we don’t know about hyperacusis, recognizing potential risk factors and common causes of this condition will help you better understand and cope. It can also be useful to know about potential causes and triggers so you are prepared when doctors ask you detailed questions about your case history. Here are some of the common conditions and risk factors associated with hyperacusis:[9][10]
    • Noise injury or acoustic trauma such as an airbag explosion, gunshot, fireworks, or other loud noise.
    • Head injury, neck injury, or whiplash.
    • Chronic ear infections.
    • Post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD).
    • Migraines.
    • Autoimmune disorders.
    • Autism.
    • Down’s syndrome.
    • Reaction to central nervous system surgeries or certain types of medications.
    • Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread by tick bites.
    • Addison’s disease, a disease that affects the adrenal glands.
    • Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear.
  4. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 4
    Recognize why it is challenging to diagnose hyperacusis. People suffering from hyperacusis often find the process of diagnosis and treatment frustrating because there is much we don’t know about this condition. It’s hard for doctors to determine what exactly caused the condition, and there is no single test to diagnose hyperacusis.[11][12]
    • There are other auditory conditions that can affect your hearing and have symptoms similar to hyperacusis or even in addition to hyperacusis. This is why it is important to work with medical professionals who will also be able to rule out, diagnose, or treat whatever conditions you might be experiencing.[13]
  5. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 5
    Be prepared to deal with some medical professionals who might be dismissive about hyperacusis. Since there’s a lot scientists and researchers don’t know about hyperacusis and much of the research on it is recent or ongoing, some doctors and medical professionals you deal with might be insensitive and dismissive about this condition.
  6. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 6
    Work with medical professionals to accurately diagnose hyperacusis. In spite of the challenges, it’s important to work with medical professionals if you believe you might be dealing with hyperacusis. To cope with this condition, you need to receive an accurate diagnosis and information about treatment plans.[14][15]
    • Since there is no single test to determine whether someone has hyperacusis, you might have to work with several different doctors and undergo numerous tests.
    • Usually, people with hyperacusis are first referred to an ear doctor or ENT who performs a thorough examination to rule out other potential causes.
    • A doctor of audiology or a hearing disorders specialist usually administers audiological assessments to evaluate whether someone might have hyperacusis. One of the most common tests is a LDL test or loudness discomfort level test, which compares your loudness discomfort level against the normal range for human ears.

Method 2
Coping With Hyperacusis Daily

  1. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 7
    Don’t be embarrassed or feel abnormal. Although it might be challenging, try not to feel embarrassed about experiencing hyperacusis or feel that your condition makes you abnormal.[16]
    • While this is a rare condition, research suggests that the number of people experiencing and being diagnosed with hyperacusis is actually increasing. This means you are not alone.
    • You didn’t ask to deal with this condition, and shouldn’t feel that you are to blame.
  2. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 8
    Be prepared for people not to understand. Part of coping effectively with hyperacusis is being prepared for some people to have a hard time understanding your condition. Since some definitions of hyperacusis describe it as a “sensitivity” to loud noises, people with hyperacusis are often dismissed as being overly sensitive or dramatic. Unfortunately, people who don’t suffer from this condition have a hard time realizing how difficult and painful it can be to live with hyperacusis.
    • Although people can be insensitive and make hurtful comments, try not to take these personally. Recognize that their lack of understanding and empathy comes from a place of ignorance.
    • If people continue to be insensitive, it’s probably best to distance yourself from these individuals. You will be able to more effectively cope with hyperacusis if you are surrounded by supportive people.
  3. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 9
    Explain what you experience to your friends, family members, or colleagues so they can better understand what you are going through. If you don’t tell people about what it feels like to live with hyperacusis, they won’t know.
    • Invite those who are close to you to attend your medical appointments and counseling or treatment sessions, so they can learn more about this condition and take an active role in helping you.
  4. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 10
    Connect with other individuals who have hyperacusis. Since people who don’t suffer from hyperacusis might find it difficult to understand what you are going through, it can be helpful to cope with your situation if you can connect with other affected individuals.
    • Join or establish an online hyperacusis support group, so you can meet and talk with other individuals who are dealing with the same condition. Many of these groups are designed to help people learn about their conditions, discuss different treatment options, and locate excellent medical care.[17][18]
    • Write about your experiences or post on hyperacusis forums and websites so that your friends, family, and other individuals can better understand hyperacusis and offer support. Your story might also help other people with hyperacusis cope with this difficult condition. Researchers have also reported that patient stories help them better understand hyperacusis.[19]
  5. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 11
    Don’t isolate yourself. Although many people with hyperacusis are tempted to withdraw and isolate themselves, this often results in increased depression, anxiety, and loneliness, which makes coping more difficult. Try not to cut yourself off from friends, family, and the outside world.
    • Your friends and family care about you and want to support you, so work with them to find ways to interact that are not painful. For example, encourage them to visit you or pick a place where you feel comfortable.
  6. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 12
    Invest in protective equipment. Many people living with hyperacusis have reported that protective equipment such as earplugs, earmuffs, noise-canceling headphones, and sound machines have helped them cope with their condition and continue their daily activities.[20][21]
    • These devices range in price from very affordable to very expensive options, so it’s a good idea to do research online and talk with other people who suffer from hyperacusis to see what they found useful.
    • Audiologists can also recommend and order special equipment that might best suit your unique needs.
  7. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 13
    Seek medical attention to help you cope with anxiety, depression, or sleeplessness. Many people with hyperacusis report that they suffer from anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping as a result of their condition, which can make coping with hyperacusis even more challenging. Talk with your doctors and medical professionals about how to manage and treat these symptoms so that you feel better as soon as possible.

Method 3
Undergoing Treatment

  1. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 14
    Treat the medical condition causing hyperacusis. If a specific medical condition such as migraines, an autoimmune disorder, or an ear injury is suspected to cause hyperacusis, treating this underlying condition might relieve hyperacusis or improve symptoms.[22]
    • Since the causes of hyperacusis are not well-known, it’s best to work with a doctor or medical professional to determine if it’s appropriate to treat for a potential underlying condition.
  2. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 15
    Try sound therapy or retraining therapy. Many therapists recommend that patients with hyperacusis undergo sound therapy to slowly reintroduce sound to their lives so they can resume their daily activities. This method of therapy is designed to desensitize the ear by listening to machines that emit pink noise, a specific frequency of noise.[23][24]
    • Retraining therapy is often performed with hearing-aid type equipment or bedside sound generating machines that emit a specific frequency of noise. Patients are often exposed to this noise for two to eight hours per day.
    • Many hyperacusis patients have reported that this treatment improves their noise tolerance levels.[25]
    • Work with a therapist or counselor your audiologist recommends so that you can make sure he has experience treating patients with hyperacusis.
  3. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 16
    Work with a therapist experienced in cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is also recommended for patients with hyperacusis because it helps desensitize you to the uncomfortable sounds so that you can live a more normal life. CBT therapy can also help hyperacusis patients deal with the anxiety and depression that is often a product of their condition.[26]
    • CBT therapy emphasizes relaxation and mindfulness techniques that have been shown to help hyperacusis patients cope with their condition.
    • CBT therapy is often used in conjunction with retraining therapy.
    • Your audiologist should be able to recommend a therapist or counselor experienced in using CBT with hyperacusis patients.
  4. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 17
    Don’t expect results overnight. Treatment for hyperacusis is a process, so don’t expect immediate results. If you feel better with a timeline, ask the medical professionals you are working with about when you might expect to see improvement in your condition.
  5. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 18
    Be prepared for relapses. While many hyperacusis patients report that retraining and CBT significantly improved their condition, experts warn that there is a potential for relapse when exposed to new noises or different noise levels. Talk with your medical team and therapists about the potential for relapses and how best to cope with them.
  6. Image titled Cope With Having Hyperacusis Step 19
    Don’t give up. Coping with hyperacusis is challenging, but many people are working to research this condition and develop more effective treatment options.


  • If you suspect you have hyperacusis, seek medical treatment so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and move forward with treatment options. There are other medical conditions that can cause symptoms similar to hyperacusis.

Article Info

Categories: Conditions and Treatments