People are not born with hyperacusis, but some can develop an increased sensitivity to sound later in life. While a clear cause is commonly unidentifiable, possible causes include:
There are a variety of neurologic conditions that may be associated with hyperacusis, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Tay-Sach’s disease (a rare, inherited disorder that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord)
- Some forms of epilepsy
- Valium dependence
- Migraine headaches
- Anxiety, mood swings, with increased heart rate, sweating
Hyperacusis can be seen in children with brain injuries (often with other sensory sensitivities), some autistic children, and some children with cerebral palsy.
If you think you or a loved one may have hyperacusis, you should seek an evaluation by an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist. The initial consultation is likely to include a full audiologic evaluation (with hearing test), medical history review, and a medical evaluation. Your doctor should also provide counseling about their findings, as well as possible treatment options.