Although a corrective surgical or medical approach for treating hyperacusis is not available at this time, there are a number of existing therapies that can help reduce a person's fears and anxieties about the disease, as well as their acutal sensitivity to sounds. These may include retraining and acoustic therapies.
Retraining therapy consists of counseling and acoustic therapy. The aim is to reduce a patient's reactions to hyperacusis. Counseling is designed to help a patient better cope, while acoustic therapy is used to decrease a patient's sensitivity to sounds and to teach them to view sound in a positive manner.
This treatment approach uses the sound of music or noise produced via a body-worn system or a small device that looks like a hearing aid, which produces steady, gentle sounds. The theory is that by listening to a sound at a low level for a certain amount of time each day, the auditory nerves and brain centers will become desensitized and able to tolerate normal environmental sounds again. In most cases, the treatment is successful, but takes anywhere from three months to two years for improvements to be made.
It is important to note also that the constant use of earplugs is NOT recommended. Constant or frequent blocking of the ears may further alter the brain's calibration of loudness and may teach the brain to further restrict its comfort range.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.