Centred on a patient’s experience, this article provides a brief summary of the condition of hyperacusis as an introduction to the treatments that are currently available. It is enhanced by the fact that the individual mentioned is a musician by profession, whose journey of diagnosis and treatment had a significant impact on his quality of life. The article categorises hyperacusis into four different subtypes based upon the patient’s emotional response to sound. References are made to research conducted within the last decade highlighting the overall prevalence of the condition and the potential role of increased tensor tympani muscle activity causing pain in response to sound. Various different forms of sound therapy are available for hyperacusis, such as continuous low level broadband noise, successive approximation of high level broadband noise with or without partial masking. The featured case found benefit from a ‘pink noise program’ using open air headphones where sound presentation was incrementally adjusted in a successive approximation fashion. The article reiterates the need for further studies in this condition to improve understanding, which in turn would hope to better the diagnostic pathways and highlight an aim for targeted therapy for affected cases.

Help for hyperacusis: treatments turn down discomfort.
Lindsey H.
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Linnea Cheung

Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, UK.

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