Episode 8: Transforming Hyperacusis Research — Bryan Pollard

Discussion in 'Podcast' started by Tinnitus Talk, Dec 15, 2019.

    1. Tinnitus Talk
      Balanced

      Tinnitus Talk Knowledge Base

      tinnitus-talk-podcast-episode-8-bryan-pollard.png

      Hi everybody!

      This will be our last episode of the year. Although… we may still have a surprise in store for our Patreon supporters. You can become one too for only 2 dollars per month! It means a lot to us that so many of you have already chosen to support our volunteer efforts. :)

      We’re very happy to be able to cover this important topic: hyperacusis.

      Tinnitus Talk spoke with Bryan Pollard, the president of Hyperacusis Research Limited, based in Boston. Bryan himself suffers from hyperacusis, which he believes is due to sound exposure from a loud woodchipper several years ago.

      In this episode, Bryan talks about his personal experience with hyperacusis, and how this drove him to start Hyperacusis Research to raise funds for scientific research.

      We spoke about the concept of pain hyperacusis and how it only recently became recognized due to the scientific breakthrough proving that the cochlea has pain receptors. Bryan also gives advice to hyperacusis patients regarding treatment options. And of course, we spoke about the most exciting new research developments.



      Listen on:

      We welcome any discussion, but please keep the following in mind when commenting:
      • Off-topic comments, i.e. not directly responding to the content of the podcast, will be removed. So please do listen before commenting!
      • While we welcome constructive criticism on ideas or policies, we do not tolerate direct attacks on individuals.

      Tinnitus Talk would like to thank Bryan for taking the time to speak with us and share his valuable insights.

      This episode was produced, as usual, by @Markku and @Hazel. @Autumnly also applied her editing skills this time, so a big thank you to her. We would once again also like to thank @Liz Windsor for transcribing the episode. Do you want to join our team as well? Let us know!

      Don't forget to:

      Sharing Is Caring
      Share the podcast on your social media and with your tinnitus friends!
       
      • Winner Winner x 13
      • Like Like x 11
    2. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sparkhealthmedia on suicide watch
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      Bryan is one of the most redpilled people out there when it comes to pain hyperacusis or as some call it "noxacusis".

      He has done a ton of amazing work for the community. Basically he pioneered it and now that we know TRT isn't working, we need to keep advocating for real treatments.

      Way to go Tinnitus Talk for doing this great interview!
       
      • Like Like x 5
      • Agree Agree x 5
      • Winner Winner x 2
    3. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      ZaGmz6sbWsewW0ONxRBD9Q_r.gif

      This is the type of advocate we need.
       
      • Agree Agree x 6
      • Like Like x 3
      • Winner Winner x 1
    4. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you. It's so refreshing to listen to this and not feel frustration from someone saying something ignorant. I have loudness hyperacusis without any pain; it was very helpful to learn more about the distinction. Keep up the good work.
       
      • Agree Agree x 4
      • Hug Hug x 1
    5. Gman
      No Mood

      Gman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic earwax drops, worsened by MDs (Muppet Doctors)
      Someone had better tell Bryan and the research community that reactive tinnitus "isn't real and was made-up on internet forums".
      ;)
      Seriously though, thank you for this episode!
       
      • Agree Agree x 6
      • Funny Funny x 2
      • Like Like x 1
    6. Labyrinthine
      Moonlighting

      Labyrinthine Member Benefactor

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music
      Bryan Pollard and Tinnitus Talk, my heroes <3
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
      • Winner Winner x 1
    7. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      This was a very well conducted and productive interview, thank you, Hazel. In my opinion, it further highlights the importance of locking down a widespread clinically agreed description of what hyperacusis actually is. There are still some subsets that are getting mixed-up and confused amongst one another and I find it staggering that there’s still not a definitive clinical representation that’s agreed upon worldwide. I think “pain hyperacusis” should be called noxacusis because it’s very specific to pain being induced in the ears by sound as well as a lowered loudness threshold. There are clear physiological implications to this as told by Brian and I believe it should be treated as a condition in its own right.

      I’m going to pre-warn you that this post is going to be a really long one, but here goes:

      The various overlaps between pain hyperacusis, loudness hyperacusis, annoyance hyperacusis, and fear hyperacusis doesn’t help matters. If a clinician is not supremely knowledgeable about this condition then their patients are potentially in for a very rough ride. For example, if an audiologist treats their patients as if they all have loudness hyperacusis then people with pain hyperacusis are liable to experience unnecessary setbacks and have a bad clinical experience. There should be more of an individualised approach to helping people, but I don’t believe there currently is. I think it’s a very fragmented space within healthcare at the moment.

      The reason I think the distinction between noxacusis and the other forms of hyperacusis needs to be made clearer is because of the psychological impact the other forms can have on people. Particularly the potential for one to develop a psychological aversion to “all sound” in people with both fear hyperacusis (phonophobia) and tinnitus.

      There was a study done recently in Manchester that showed that the overuse of earplugs can actually induce tinnitus and lower the auditory threshold by 6 dB over a matter of days. I found it interesting how some of the study participants described the tinnitus sound that emerged, as well. There was quite a variation from train whistle sounds, to tones, hissing, clicking, creaking, etc. I’ll post an excerpt from it below and post a link to the study itself underneath.

      Abstract

      The occurrence of tinnitus is associated with hearing loss and neuroplastic changes in the brain, but disentangling correlation and causation have remained difficult in both human and animal studies. Here we use earplugs to cause a period of monaural deprivation to induce a temporary, fully reversible tinnitus sensation, to test whether differences in subcortical changes in neural response gain, as reflected through changes in acoustic reflex thresholds (ARTs), could explain the occurrence of tinnitus.

      Forty-four subjects with normal hearing wore an earplug in one ear for either 4 (n = 27) or 7 days (n = 17). Thirty subjects reported tinnitus at the end of the deprivation period. ARTs were measured before the earplug period and immediately after taking the earplug out. At the end of the earplug period, ARTs in the plugged ear were decreased by 5.9 ± 1.1 dB in the tinnitus-positive group, and by 6.3 ± 1.1 dB in the tinnitus-negative group. In the control ear, ARTs were increased by 1.3 ± 0.8 dB in the tinnitus-positive group, and by 1.6 ± 2.0 dB in the tinnitus-negative group. There were no significant differences between the groups with 4 and 7  days of auditory deprivation.


      Our results suggest that either the subcortical neurophysiological changes underlying the ART reductions might not be related to the occurrence of tinnitus, or that they might be a necessary component of the generation of tinnitus, but with additional changes at a higher level of auditory processing required to give rise to tinnitus. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Central Gain.

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030645221930168X?via=ihub

      There is a site in particular (I’ll link below) that I believe sheds a bit more light as to what overprotecting and under protecting is. I think this is particularly important as we already know what a minefield this topic can be.

      I’ll paste some of the content and add the link below:

      Earplug Use

      The proper use of hearing protection is not well defined for someone with hyperacusis. If you do not use hearing protection, you run the risk of setbacks or social isolation. If you use hearing protection too often, you run the risk of lowering tolerances further or hindering recovery. Anxiety that often accompanies protection behavior may enhance hyperacusis symptoms as it heightens loudness and pain sensations to a degree. Earplug use is a complex, individual decision that needs to be made with careful consideration of the risks of overprotection. In general, it is more natural for someone with hyperacusis to wear earplugs more often than is necessary which is why emphasis is usually placed on reducing protection.

      Overprotection

      The overuse of hearing protection is almost universally discouraged based on evidence that it will lower loudness thresholds over time. Risks of overprotection include increased auditory gain, anxiety-induced hypersensitivity, and reinforcement of negative associations with sound. Positive results from studies of Sound Therapy & Counseling reinforce the notion that overprotection can prevent people from building sound tolerance. These treatments emphasize a gradual increase in sound exposure rather than sound isolation. It is often recommended that those with hyperacusis walk the fine line between setbacks and overprotection rather than follow a course of isolation and hypervigilance. Practically applying this guideline is not always straightforward.

      Underprotection

      Increased sound exposure can lead to setbacks. A setback is a sudden drop in sound tolerance as opposed to the gradual reduction in sound tolerance that occurs during overprotection. Setbacks are expected during recovery however they are an under-researched aspect of hyperacusis. Setbacks lasting several days are common. Setbacks lasting weeks, months, or years occur less often but can be deeply discouraging. Anecdotally, it seems setback duration and setback severity reduce to a degree in time. Setback duration and severity also seem to be correlated with hyperacusis severity. While there are over 2200 posts on hyperacusis setbacks in the patient forum on chat-hyperacusis.net, no academic papers could be found using a pubmed search. Some clinicians will inform the patient that sound levels below 85 dB (equivalent to noise from heavy traffic) are safe as they are unlikely to cause long-term hearing loss. While this is comforting and good to know, the relevance to setbacks is unclear as long-term hearing loss (often outer hair cell loss) is not suspected to be related to hyperacusis setbacks. Sound levels that trigger setbacks may be dependent on baseline LDLs and the particular subtype of hyperacusis (pain or loudness). There is a glaring need for research into setbacks to assess the consequences of underprotection. Setback thresholds, duration, severity, and frequency should be studied in relation to long-term recovery. Only then should maximum “safe” sound levels be defined.

      Asymmetrical Protection

      There are cases of hyperacusis that affect one ear more than the other. This quickly leads to the question, “What happens if I only protect my bad ear?” There is limited research on this topic. Studies suggest that auditory gain in the protected ear will increase. If the asymmetrical symptoms are related to a contraction of the acoustic reflex, sound into the unprotected ear can trigger the reflex in the protected ear as well, which would limit the effectiveness of protection. There are similar concerns about asymmetrical protection as there are for general overprotection.

      https://hyperacusisfocus.org/research/earplug-use-2/

      I think Richard Tyler does a good job of explaining the subsets of hyperacusis and the various problems that can arise whilst trying to treat them. Again, I’ll paste some of his content below and I’ll put bits in bold that stand out to me.

      Richard S. Tyler, PhD, professor of communication sciences and disorders and of otolaryngology at the University of Iowa, describes four categories of hyperacusis: loudness, annoyance, fear, and pain. While he sees all of these subtypes intersecting in the clinic, epidemiological data on hyperacusis are lacking, “so it's hard to know how much overlap actually occurs,” he said.

      In loudness hyperacusis, moderately intense sounds are perceived as too loud, while annoyance hyperacusis is “a negative emotional reaction to sounds,” Dr. Tyler said.

      Fear hyperacusis is a negative response to sounds that may cause patients to avoid social situations or feel anxiety in anticipation of hearing these sounds. Pain is also associated with hyperacusis and may include a stabbing sensation at much lower sound levels than would typically prompt pain.

      One type of hyperacusis may lead to another, Dr. Tyler said.

      If you experience loudness hyperacusis, emotional consequences may follow, leading to stress and annoyance, which eventually lead to fear of going to events and socializing,” he said. “Pain is a little more complicated because it consists of both a fundamental attribute and an emotional consequence.”

      People with hyperacusis have increased activity in
      the tensor tympani muscle in response to some sounds, which can tighten the eardrum and lead to pain, said Dr. Melcher, citing research published in Noise & Health(2013;15[63]:117-128).

      “We often see pain in our patients,” said Fan-Gang Zeng, PhD, professor of otolaryngology in the School of Medicine and director of the Center for Hearing Research at the University of California, Irvine, and chair of The Hearing Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board.

      “When the sound reaches a certain level, patients will say, ‘It's not just the loudness that's bothering me; it's the pinging sensation or tingling.’”


      ONE IN 50,000

      Hyperacusis is rare, affecting one in 50,000 people, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS).

      Prevalence rates were between eight and nine percent in a 2002 mail and Internet survey (Int J Audiol 2002;41[8]:545-554), while other researchers have estimated a prevalence of two percent in the adult population. (Baguley DM, McFerran DJ. Hyperacusis and disorders of loudness perception. In: Møller A, Langguth B, De Ridder D, Kleinjung T, eds. Textbook of Tinnitus. New York, NY: Springer; 2011:13-24.)

      Hyperacusis appears to result from reduced nerve input and response to sound, Dr. Zeng said. As a result, the brain has no choice but to increase gain, causing over-amplification in its attempt to compensate.


      The brain is dynamically changing in response to the environment and the pathological conditions in the ear,” he said.


      With the loudness form of the condition, “there is likely greater activity on individual hearing nerve fibers and across more hearing nerve fibers than would occur in the normal ear without hyperacusis,” Dr. Tyler said.

      If patients experience annoyance or fear, then the many corresponding emotional centers of the brain must also be activated. These networks are active for different types of stressors, not just hyperacusis, he noted.


      Hyperacusis is frequently associated with noise exposure and tinnitus (see box), but many patients have apparently normal hearing thresholds, Dr. Tyler said.

      Some patients with hyperacusis have high-frequency hearing loss, but the loss is not always reflected by the audiogram, Dr. Zeng said. Patients with hyperacusis are often bothered by sounds at all frequencies, provided they reach a certain decibel level, he added.


      Conditions that are associated with hyperacusis include Bell's palsy, Lyme disease, depression, and autism, among others, according to the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA). In addition to noise exposure, causes may include physical trauma to the head or viral infection of the inner ear.

      Audiologists can assess loudness hyperacusis by measuring loudness growth or loudness discomfort levels with pure tones, said Dr. Tyler, although some studies from the hearing healthcare literature use actual recordings of environmental sounds.


      Dr. Zeng finds that exposing patients to a conversational sound level of 60 to 70 dB and asking them to indicate if this level is too loud helps determine if they have hyperacusis, he said.

      Questionnaires are valuable for determining annoyance and fear components of the disorder, Dr. Tyler said. Generally, such assessments consist of subjective responses.

      “If patients say they're afraid to go to work or the cafeteria because it's too noisy, then, clinically speaking, you know they have fear hyperacusis,” he said. Audiologists also need to ask patients if they are experiencing any associated ear pain, he added.


      LOWERING THE VOLUME

      Counseling and sound therapy are two common approaches to managing hyperacusis. They can help retrain the brain and reduce the physiological activity that leads to the condition, Dr. Melcher said.

      Many counseling techniques are now available, Dr. Tyler said. For example, hyperacusis activities treatment includes components of cognitive behavior therapy, helping patients adjust their perceptions and providing techniques to improve concentration.

      And, of course, when people change their feelings and impressions about a condition, something in the brain changes as well,” Dr. Tyler said.

      Sound therapy can be very effective for hyperacusis, he said. Data indicate that exposure to continuous low-level broadband noise can improve objective measures of loudness hyperacusis ( Semin Hear 2002;23[1]:21-34; Acta Otolaryngol 2005;125[5]:503-509).

      While continuous broadband noise has been used to treat tinnitus and is now advocated for hyperacusis therapy, “white noise is not very effective compared with modulated dynamic sounds,” Dr. Zeng said.

      Another approach, successive approximation using high-level broadband noise, may be effective, said Dr. Tyler, adding that the therapy was recommended by the late Jack A. Vernon, PhD, cofounder of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).


      This form of sound therapy involves noise exposure that increases in loudness and duration over time. (Tyler RS, Noble W, Coelho C, Haskell G, Bardia A. Tinnitus and hyperacusis. In: Katz J, Medwetsky L, Burkard R, Hood L, eds. Handbook of Clinical Audiology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009:726-742.)

      UNCOVERING THE CAUSE

      While therapies for hyperacusis are available, treatment codes are not, so reimbursement for audiologists is challenging, Dr. Tyler said.

      Once more effective treatments are established, the healthcare system will likely provide better reimbursement, Dr. Zeng said. The effectiveness of hyperacusis therapy needs to be comparable to that of other reimbursable audiological treatments, such as cochlear implants, he said.


      First, you have to have the research, with good quality-of-life outcomes.”

      Additional clinical trials are essential, Dr. Tyler said. Investigators need a better understanding of how to measure loudness hyperacusis while taking emotional influences into account. Studies
      also must evaluate the use of sound therapy and more specific counseling procedures for hyperacusis treatment.

      In addition, further research needs to investigate the causes of hyperacusis, the physiological changes that occur in the inner ear and nerves, and the brain's response, in addition to how sound can affect pain receptors, Dr. Zeng said.

      We really need some kind of biomarker to objectively measure the condition,” he said. “It's almost impossible to create effective treatments until we know what causes the condition.”

      In the case of Rob, the musician from Georgia, an audiologist at Emory University recommended Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) as a treatment for hyperacusis. However, Rob found the presentation of sound in TRT too difficult to tolerate, so he opted for customized pink noise.

      His pink noise program used open-air headphones and started with a high-end frequency presentation of 3,000 Hz. He listened to this for eight hours a day at a low volume for three months, gradually increasing the volume during the second and third months. Rob also gradually increased the high-end frequency of the presentation, as well as the amplitude of selected frequency points.


      He can now listen to 22,050 Hz. His loudness discomfort levels were originally in the 30- and 40-dB range, and now they're in the 90- and 100-dB range.

      Overall, his therapy has taken about three years, and Rob said he believes his sound tolerance can further improve.


      It took me a long time to get there, but it's been very successful,” he said.

      There’s also the interesting aspect of cochlea synaptopathy and it’s role in all of this. I found this interesting from the work of Charles Liberman:

      Cochlear synaptopathy has been demonstrated in animal models in response to aging, noise exposure, and ototoxic drug exposure (Kujawa and Liberman, 2009; Sergeyenko et al., 2013; Ruan et al., 2014). Remarkably, up to 50% synaptic loss has been observed in the absence of any permanent threshold shift (Kujawa and Liberman, 2009; Sergeyenko et al., 2013). This has led to concern about the effects of syn- aptopathy on human auditory perception that may be “hidden” from the audiogram. Unfortunately, this perceptual impact has proved difficult to study. Although human tempo- ral bone studies confirm that auditory neuronal and synaptic loss occur in humans with age (Makary et al., 2011; Viana et al., 2015), studies of synaptopathy in living humans are complicated by the lack of a reliable non-invasive metric of the cochlear synaptic number and the large degree of mea- surement error associated with self-reported noise exposure. In animal models of synaptopathy, the amplitude of wave I of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) is highly corre- lated with synaptic survival (Kujawa and Liberman, 2009; Lin et al., 2011; Sergeyenko et al., 2013). This makes ABR wave I amplitude a good candidate measure for studying synaptopathy in humans, although care must be taken when interpreting ABR results as wave I amplitude may also be impacted by factors such as electrode impedance, head size and anatomy, sex, and OHC function.

      https://asa.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1121/1.5132708?class=pdf

      The discussion of the auditory gain model of tinnitus and hyperacusis is also something that comes up really frequently, as well as the gating hypothesis. Brian spoke about this at circa 18 minutes into the podcast and I think Will Sedley goes over some of the ideas behind this quite extensively - from his perspective - here (if this sort of stuff interests you then I’d recommend reading through all of it):

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452219300478?via=ihub

      I also agree with Brian, at circa 25 minutes, that reactive tinnitus is not hyperacusis, although, there may well be a lot of overlap which seems inevitable with these conditions. I remember bringing this up about two years ago whilst referencing some hearing related literature (which kind of agrees with what Brian said about researchers accepting the term but not so much people on the clinical side). I remember saying that it seemed to be becoming a more accepted term, academically speaking, and I also remember Michael Leigh vehemently disagreeing with me at the time, but I suppose that’s his right to do so.
       
      • Informative Informative x 4
    8. Hazel
      Dreaming

      Hazel Director Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one-sided hearing loss (of unknown origin)
      Wow @Ed209 thanks for the in-depth feedback and all the useful background and links! This is a great help for anyone who wants to know more after listening to the episode :)
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    9. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I listened to the full interview and it is quite descriptive of the state of things nowadays for hyperacusis. However, I feel that some topics were not addressed, like the evolution of hyperacusis in the long run, in case there is a study on that. It would be great to know what happens to the patients when they are, let's say, 10 years into hyperacusis? What do statistics say about that?

      On a more specific level, I think hearing fatigue and the way the brain classifies and interprets sounds should have been discussed. I mean, why some pitches feel worse in our ears than others? Why with minor or no hearing loss it is harder to understand speech than to listen to music or to sounds that carry no meaning? Why sounds of a certain decibel level that we do not unconsciously classify as a "threat" are easier to bear than some other sounds that are equally loud but our brain, limbic system, or auditory system, considers a threat or dangerous?

      It is very important what Bryan said about avoiding setbacks. That is key for some improvement or to build up tolerance to sound. However, no specific techniques to avoid setbacks were discussed. Also, how to avoid loud sounds that just happen due to unexpected exposures in our daily lives?

      There weren't any references to any sort of medications. I know there is no medication for hyperacusis or tinnitus today, but people are using all kinds of stuff, like benzos, SSRIs, and all sort of antidepressants and pain medication... and it would be great to put all this into perspective, to know if there is any kind of research or study that has assessed whether any of these drugs can be beneficial for hyperacusis or tinnitus sufferers, and what the risks are, in the short term and in the long run.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      Tinnitus Mix
       
    11. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      No idea
       
    12. Hazel
      Dreaming

      Hazel Director Staff Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      the Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      one-sided hearing loss (of unknown origin)
      Hi @Juan, thanks for your extensive feedback!

      Sorry we couldn't address all these topics. A podcast is only about one hour long and there's only so much ground we can cover. The selection of topics was based on input from the community; whenever we have a confirmed podcast guest, we call for questions in this thread. Furthermore, I think some of the questions you pose could not have been answered by Bryan, and it made sense to us to stick to the topics that he has been most closely involved in. In other words, the aim was never to cover everything interesting related to hyperacusis; that would be impossible even in ten podcast episodes. Luckily, there's no reason we can't do more episodes on hyperacusis in future!

      I will nonetheless attempt to address the topics you've raised. I'm sure this will trigger further interesting discussion, which is also by the way one of our aims in doing these podcasts: to involve more people in these discussions and together maybe we can spark new research avenues (who knows?).

      Regarding the evolution of hyperacusis, people ask this about tinnitus all the time as well, but the problem is that this requires longitudinal studies, i.e. following the same group of people over a long period of time (many years or even decades). Such studies are expensive and difficult to carry out, especially with a large sample size. I'm not 100% sure, but I'd be surprised if this has ever been done for hyperacusis, which thus leaves us with only anecdotal evidence. Incidentally, Tinnitus Hub (the volunteer-based organisation behind the podcast and this forum) is planning to explore options for creating a Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Database, which would allow us to gather real longitudinal data! I'm sure Bryan also has thoughts on the matter, and I'd love to hear them.

      You raise some really interesting questions about how the brain processes sound and why some sounds seem inherently more annoying or threatening than others. These questions are surely related to hyperacusis, and I have no doubt Bryan could shed some light, but I feel like they're best be answered by someone specialised in auditory processing in the brain. Maybe an idea for a future episode, if anyone can propose a guest?

      Regarding medicines, I did ask Bryan a number of questions about treatment options, so if he had felt there are viable drug options I'm sure he would have mentioned them. I believe that the most comprehensive meta-analysis of the use of antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medication for tinnitus and hyperacusis, and its associated benefits and risks, can be found in the clinical practice guidelines. We actually did a podcast episode on clinical guidelines for tinnitus, which does address this very topic. A quick Google search led me to this meta-analysis on hyperacusis interventions, which seems to state that only case studies have been carried out assessing pharmacological therapy for hyperacusis (see section 3.11), so basically any high-quality evidence - like randomised controlled trials - is so far lacking. That said, you'll find plenty of anecdotal reports on this forum (including warnings of side effects and such).

      Regarding techniques to avoid setbacks, I believe Bryan was quite clear that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here, and it requires trial and error and figuring out what works for you.

      I do know that Bryan has been following this thread, so if he has anything more to add, I'll make sure it gets posted here.

      I hope you still found the episode worthwhile in spite of all this. Like I said, we can never cover all the topics of interest, so it's hard to please everyone, but we always do our best to get the community's input beforehand, and we use your feedback for future (research) projects.

      Sorry that turned out so long, just wanted to give you the bigger picture :)
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    13. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I believe one of the most famous longitudinal studies, not specifically related to hyperacusis, is the Dunedin study carried out in New Zealand, where patients were followed up during decades. This shed light on the importance of prevention and also on early tackling some health issues (like otitis media in kids) that could be minor if treated fast and could otherwise develop into worse health conditions if left untreated.
      I think understanding this would be key to solve the mysteries of hyperacusis and tinnitus. Basically one does not have the same feeling when a sound comes from loudspeakers or from a person talking, and the brain does not work in the same way if we listen to a piece of orchestral music or to speech. Also, I believe ENTs and the medical community are underestimating the impact of minor hearing loss in the ability to communicate with background noise, and for this I do not mean the "cocktail party" effect but just the presence of wind on the background or a similar white-noise-type of humm.

      According to my own headaches (I have had hyperacusis with pain for a long long time) I believe that there is something more than the cochlea and the OHCs involved in sound processing, and that has to be the brain. I say this because sometimes I hear speech but it is like it travels to my brain at slow speed. I tend to compare this to fast Internet and the old dial up Internet connections of like 20 years ago. The meaning of speech travels slower now to my brain, and that must mean that hyperacusis can produce a deterioration of other cognitive processes on top of the actual hearing damage it can produce to cochlear structures or hair cells.
      I think Bryan used some of the "magical words" that are sometimes forgotten by doctors when advising patients, like the need to adjust one's lifestyle to the new situation and to find spaces for comfort and for feeling safe, spaces of peace and quiet where we can rest.

      Setback I would say, in my experience, are unavoidable, but we can work on the way we deal with them, and on trying to minimise the amount of times when we experience a setback every year, by adjusting our lifestyle and the way we navigate around sound in the city or urban life.
      It was a great episode where many interesting topics were covered, and I can only encourage you guys to keep up the good work you are doing to help people suffering from tinnitus and hyperacusis!!!

      Thank you so much, and have a great Christmas Hazel! :)
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    14. iAzra
      Hurting

      iAzra Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma, Stress, Nose hit
      It was a great podcast, thank you.

      Where can I find more info about the device Bryan was talking about, the one that cuts noise to the preferred levels?
       
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Autumnly
      Wishful

      Autumnly Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      July/August 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    16. david c

      david c Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2012
      Absolutely right - I would put avoiding setbacks as the number one key to recovering from hyperacusis and habituating to tinnitus.
      So how to develop specific techniques to avoid setbacks and what to do about unexpected exposure? I would make a few quick points.

      Firstly, try and anticipate the unexpected. By this I mean travelling always with a pair of earplugs to hand which you can put on if loud noise exposure happens. Remember that duration as much as level is important with loud noise exposure. So if you do face a loud noise exposure incident try to get away from it as fast as possible and put on earplugs quickly. Even very loud noise may not do very much damage if you have curtailed your length of exposure to it.

      Finally, try not to panic as much as possible if you have had a loud noise exposure incident - resting in a quiet space (with some light background noise) is probably your best bet and remember that temporary heightened tinnitus afterwards may in part be the result of stress.
       
    17. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Yes, you made two good points there. Length of exposure and distance to the sound source are key to avoid sound damage. And not panicking is very important too, to avoid our bodies' overreactions to sound, cramps on shoulders, neck etc, derived from tension.

      However, with severe hyperacusis sound will go through double protection (earplugs and earmuffs) like a sharp knife on butter... sound just goes through.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      No way. Hyperacusis or no hyperacusis, the laws of physics are the same.
       
    19. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      It has nothing to do with physics. It is about hair cells not working properly. Dogs are also submitted to the laws of physics and they hear a lot more than us.
       
    20. MRItechssuck
      Disappointed

      MRItechssuck Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI
      So if a sound at 65 dB gives me pain... am I physically damaging my ears?

      Or do I just feel the pain, but no damage?
       
    21. iAzra
      Hurting

      iAzra Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma, Stress, Nose hit
      As I understand, you are only feeling pain, but not physically damaging your ears.

      The pain was associated with physical damage before they discovered that an ear can actually hurt without some underlying infection etc.
       
    22. MRItechssuck
      Disappointed

      MRItechssuck Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI
      I’ve seen many threads on having ear pain... or what to do about it... but no one has explained why there is ear pain?

      Of course it can very... someone can correct me, but doesn’t the ear protect itself with the muscles around the ear keeping the ear drum still with a loud noise?

      Is this the fullness many feel after a trauma?

      Why is my ear still hurting two months after... are the muscles spasming... or is there something else at play?

      Finally... so muscle relaxers can help calm the ear pain down (if it's caused by muscle spasms?)

      Thanks.

      P.S.
      This guy seemed to explain it in his speech:
      Asius Technologies Keynote at Accelerate 2016
       

Share This Page

Loading...