TREATMENTS FOR HYPERACUSIS
Presently, there are no specific surgical or medical treatments for hyperacusis. However, a number of techniques exist to help individuals better manage hyperacusis. Many of them mirror the treatments used for tinnitus.
Sound Therapy is used to retrain the brain to accept everyday sounds. This involves the use of a noise-generating device worn on the affected ear or ears for at least two hours a day. To ensure comfort for the patient, the device produces a gentle static-like sound (white noise or broadband noise) that is barely audible. Completion of sound therapy may take up to 12 months and usually improves sound tolerance. Sound therapy may additionally include carefully prescribed introduction of the specific environmental sound that is bothersome instead of using broadband noise. Introduction of sound usually begins below the person’s tolerable sound level and is then gradually increased over time.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used for hyperacusis in addition to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions. It focuses on restructuring the negative reactions and regaining control over the condition. Adopted from tinnitus treatment, CBT for hyperacusis involves education, relaxation training, specifically prescribed exposure to sounds, and cognitive therapy to reduce stress and beliefs associated with hearing certain sounds.
With Hyperacusis Activities Treatment, the patient’s goal is to be able to recognize the relationship between the loudness of a sound and his or her reaction to it. The counseling components include: thoughts and emotions, hearing and communication, sleep, and concentration.
Hearing Protection can be worn to mitigate the discomfort of hyperacusis. There are many types including foam earplugs, silicone or putty types, custom earplugs that are shaped to fit the ear, and over-the-head ear muffs.