Hyperacusis is decreased sensitivity to sound. Typically people report being uncomfortable with background sounds that other people are not bothered by. Many people who have hyperacusis also have tinnitus, which is ringing or buzzing in the ears.
What causes hyperacusis?
At this point in time, there have been associations with certain disease processes as well as head injuries, i.e., closed head injury, even mild in nature. Noise induced auditory system trauma is another strong candidate for creating hyperacusis, but no definitive data has been accumulated. There is also some evidence that points to brain chemistry dysfunction with poor uptake of certain chemicals, As well, disturbances of processing in the auditory system, may cause faulty amplification of sounds. As you can see, there is much to be learned about this condition.
Emotions Associated with Hyperacusis
Anxiety, anger, depression, irritation, insomnia, sadness, frenzy, panic, despair, fear, isolation, rejection, distrust of medical community, avoidance, rationalization of negative behaviors, poor social interactions, loss of sense of humor and feeling that the conditions will worsen.
The Gentle Sound Therapy approach was developed by Dr. Marsha Johnson, Audiologist and Director of the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Clinic in Portland Oregon over 25 years.
Gentle Sound Therapy
Gentle Sound Therapy is an intensive sound habituation program, which lasts over a duration of 12-24 months. Using low gain hearing aids, soft level masker tones are used to stimulate the auditory cortex of the brain. Daily stimulation time is slowly increased over the first rehabilitative phase (6-12 months) to the point of prolonged daily use of sound devices (6-8 hours daily use). In the second rehabilitative phase, daily use of the stimulation devices is slowly decreased to the point of patient independence from the sound sessions. Data from Dr. Marsha Johnson’s clinic suggests that approximately 90% of patients show improvement with this rehabilitative approach.
Please contact our clinic if you have any questions regarding our Gentle Sound Therapy or would like to schedule an initial assessment.