Hyperacusis, hypersensitivity to noise, is less well known than tinnitus, but there are many people who suffer more or less severely from it.
In this section “Marga hears too much” Marga van Hintumwill blog about her experiences with Hyperacusis regularly.
Hearing aids as noise masks
I am limited in my hearing, yes, but I am not hard of hearing, on the contrary. But I do have hearing aids, in plural. Very small, and because of their shape I call them “my hearts”. That makes you suspect that I am happy with “my hearts”. Especially in the beginning I was very happy with it. I quickly got used to their presence. But with the accompanying advice that I had to learn to take them out again, I was not happy with that. Desensitising; it sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, the reality was different.
My hearing aids were advised me to mask the tinnitus. So that I could distract my attention from it. That went very well during the day. At night it was not a success. Try to lie down on your side, on an ear, with a hearing aid. At night the radio and appjes offered a happy outcome.
So I didn’t get the hearing aids, because of a reduced hearing. Only a small dip around 4000 hrz has been diagnosed. That dip can be caused by my age, 60. And the numerous middle ear infections in my youth, which will have destroyed a large number of hair cells in my inner ear.
Hearing aids as tinnitus masks. They give a constant so-called “white noise”. That noise is tuned to my hearing dip. But I also had and have hyperacusis*.
If I set the noise masks very hard, they indeed mask part of the tinnitus. But then the sound of the noise masks itself causes enormous pain in my head again. And if I turn them less loudly, they don’t mask the tinnitus sufficiently. It was an unstable balance. And it still is.
Because of a therapy I have followed, my tinnitus is now clearly less annoying. It’s still there, still plays firmly every now and then. But all in all the tinnitus is doing pretty well. The withdrawal of the noise masks is now also going well. I still wear the hearing aids very little.
But completely without “my hearts”? No, that is still a bridge too far. They are too dear to me for that ! My hearts, or rather, my sweethearts …
* Hyperacusis, literally “I hear too much”, is a condition in which you are hypersensitive to ordinary everyday sounds. “The volume control of ambient noise is permanently set to too high a level for a person with hyperacusis.”For me, the higher frequencies are particularly annoying and hurt my head.
Hyperacusis occurs in many forms. And often also in combination with tinnitus; as is the case with me.