Sound Sensitivity / Hyperacusis

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (Archived Answers)' started by JulieMay, Dec 14, 2014.

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    1. JulieMay

      JulieMay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Dr. Nagler

      Thank you for taking your time to answer questions on this forum.

      My problem started almost two months ago where I noticed a buzzing sound in my head which i still have. I can almost feel it. It's not that loud and I can only hear it when I'm inside and never outside. A lot of sounds can easily mask it. Therefore the tinnitus itself isn't a big problem. But the problem is that I'm really sensitive to sounds when I'm inside.

      As I understand hyperacusis, you are supposed to be sensitive to normal and loud sounds. But since I'm not bothered by loud sounds when I'm outside (like for example traffic etc), then I guess I don't have hyperacusis?
      It's easier for me to tolerate sounds when there is a fan or something like that running in the background.

      It is really frustrating because having conversations with people or listening to the radio or television is bothering my ears. A lot of people say that they were annoyed by high pitch sounds in the beginning of their tinnitus, but for me it's not just high pitch sounds. It feels like my ears are too tired to listen to people speaking etc. Like it is annoying my tinnitus and the physical feeling of tinnitus that i have.

      Have you heard about this condition before?

      I have heard that hyperacusis often goes away after some time. Do you think that my kind of sound sensitivity can also go away with time? I never plug my ears and I haven't avoided any sounds.

      And last: A lot of people talk about how you can learn to live with your tinnitus and not let it bother you at all. And how to distract yourself from tinnitus. And that's great! I just miss some information about whether you can learn to live with sound sensitivity and not let it bother you. And how you cope with it. I feel like if my sound sensitivity doesn't improve, it will make my life worse. I used to love life!

      I hope to hear from you and thank you again for your time.

    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi @JulieMay -

      Best I can tell from your description is that you have DST (Decreased Sound Tolerance). As to whether your DST is due to hyperacusis (or a variation thereof) or whether it is due to another form of sound sensitivity, that would require some more detailed history and testing, specifically to include LDL (Loudness Discomfort Level) testing and a comparison of your LDL curve with your audiogram curve. This sort of thing can be done by any clinician with knowledge and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with DST - but without that information, I am afraid I am not in a position to responsibly answer your question. My sense is that you might want to consider one of the desensitization protocols based on the fact that it might help, and there is no downside risk.

      Wish I could be more definitive -

      Dr. Stephen Nagler

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