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Noise sensitivity (hyperacusis)

Hyperacusis is when everyday sounds seem much louder than they should. Treatment can help. See a GP if you think you have hyperacusis.

Check if you have hyperacusis

You may have hyperacusis if some everyday sounds seem much louder than they should. It can sometimes be painful.

You may be affected by sounds like:

Your sensitivity to noise can affect relationships, school or work and your general wellbeing.

Hyperacusis can affect 1 or both ears. It can come on suddenly or develop over time.

Other types of hearing sensitivity:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • everyday noises feel too loud

Your GP may refer you to a hearing specialist for further tests and treatment.

Treatment for hyperacusis

Hyperacusis can be cured if it's caused by another condition, such as a migraine, head injury or Lyme disease.

If there's no clear cause, you may be offered treatment to help make you less sensitive to everyday sounds.

This could be:

Things you can try to ease hyperacusis

Do

  • try some relaxation techniques

Don't

  • do not use earplugs or muffs unless you really need to
  • do not avoid noisy situations, as this will make you become even more sensitive to noise
Information:

To talk to other people with hyperacusis and share your experience, contact:

Causes of hyperacusis

The cause of hyperacusis is unclear. It can appear on its own or with other conditions, like:

Find out more about hyperacusis from the British Tinnitus Association.