I have such good hearing that even loud noises bother me...
Not necessarily, this can be a lowered tolerance for sound, meaning: hyperacusis, mishophonia, phonophobia and even a combination of them all!!!
Reading this you will probably say you've had enough... first we wrote about hearing, then about caring for your hearing, after that we wrote about caring for the health of your brain as it relates to dealing with speech understanding, and now we are writing about tinnitus (which is a ringing or noise in the ears that is always there). But that's not the end of our journey through what we might encounter with hearing disorders and problems. In this article we are going to cover HYPERACUSIS, which is a condition or disorder caused by changes in the way our brain works and interprets sounds, the changes are essentially over stimulation at the neural level initiated by hearing stimuli. The term basically means a hearing condition characterized by a lowered tolerance for sound, the effect of which is hyperacusis and misophonia – two of the more common hearing disorders.
People affected by hyperacusis will also usually have misphonia, which is the second main component of a lowered tolerance for sounds and noises. The third may be (appearing quite often) phonophobia. The mechanics of these ailments are somewhat different. Studies show that quite a large amount of people suffering from Tinnitus also have a lowered tolerance for sound (hyperacusis.
It is also worth mentioning that the so called 'recruitment' (occurrence based on picking up a minor change in volume, in a non-proportional manner exaggerated by our perception, in comparison to actual change) refers to a person with 'sensorineural hearing loss' and does not include those with hearing loss outlined in this article. Regarding the phenomena of 'recruitment' we will bring it up in another article titled 'Sensorineural Hearing Loss'.
Cases of lowered tolerance for sound affects many people that believe they have such amazing hearing that they can hear a pin drop from a table to a floor – they do however have a problem with loud sounds, especially with certain types of loud sounds at different frequencies (this is very specific to the person), they feel a sharp pain and have a pronounced reaction when they experience this. Standard testing of hearing in these people will often show very good hearing with minimal loss or deficiency, even being able to pick up faint sounds and whispers in the tests. They are however unable to live and function regularly due to their hearing sensitivity.
Treating hyperacusis, misophonia or phonophobia, as with. tinnitus is a highly specialized field. Fortunately for sufferers it is quick and easy to make an appointment, a referral from a family doctor is not required. Hyperacusis like many other ailments related to hearing can also appear as a symptom of a much more serious condition and other health problems. It is very important to get checked for this condition by a trained specialist so that further problems and medical complications can be avoided.