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Otorhinolaryngologist pulling ear with his hand and looking at it with otoscope closeup

Some people are unable to tolerate everyday sounds. Everyday noises in the environment can lead to feelings of irritation, fear and pain. Some people begin to avoid typical daily situations to avoid exposure to these annoying sounds.

For patients, living with sound sensitivity can be challenging. We offer consultations designed to understand the condition better and provide strategies to cope better with sound sensitivity. You will benefit from a comprehensive hearing exam, loudness discomfort level testing, and questionnaires to better understand the nature and extent of your sound sensitivity and determine the best solution moving forward.

What Is Sound Sensitivity?

Sound sensitivity can be hyperacusis, an inability to tolerate louder everyday sounds. In this case, sounds may seem unbearably loud to you, even though others barely notice them. This sensitivity can include clattering dishes/cutlery, running the vacuum cleaner, children laughing, dogs barking etc. Alternatively, sound sensitivity can be misophonia. Misophonia is described as a strong dislike or hatred of softer sounds such as chewing, sniffling, slurping, pen clicking, finger tapping etc. Misophonia triggers strong emotional and physical responses that can considerably impact the quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms Of Sound Sensitivity?

Hyperacusis's main symptom is the perception that noises are louder than they should be. For instance, a person with sound sensitivity may experience discomfort in the presence of a running faucet, car engine, or loud conversation. For some, the annoyance or fear is moderate, while for others, it is considerably more intense.

Who Is Most at Risk Of Developing Sound Sensitivity?

Sound sensitivity is rarely, if ever, something that people live with from birth. Instead, it usually results from an underlying event or condition. You are at increased risk if you have:

  • Migraines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Head injuries/concussions
  • Hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Use earplugs regularly

How We Measure Sound Sensitivity

Resources are offered to provide strategies to help you lessen your distress over the bothersome sounds. When assessing hyperacusis, we will do a comprehensive hearing assessment measuring soft sounds and your comfort levels for loud sounds across the frequency ranges. Questionnaires are also used to understand better the hyperacusis's impact on your quality of life.

People with misophonia typically have normal hearing; however, we assess hearing levels to rule out auditory conditions. Detailed case histories and questionnaires are used to assess the challenges and impacts. Education and management strategies are discussed. Sometimes misophonia is best treated with different professionals working together. Recommendations will be made based on the effects of the condition.

Treatment Following Your Sound Sensitivity Consultation

Contact our office to book your consultation so that we can help you better manage your sound sensitivities. Strategies will be discussed for you to implement. A follow-up appointment will review how well these strategies are working and what else may need to be added to best help you cope with these bothersome sounds.