Hyperacusis is an intolerance to certain everyday sounds that causes distress and impairment in social, recreational, occupational, recreational, and day-to-day activities. The sounds may be perceived as painful, unpleasant, uncomfortably loud, and frightening.
In hyperacusis brain cells known as neurons that normally respond at louder sound levels begin to respond to sounds with lower levels. Hyperacusis typically elicits a negative emotional reaction to environmental noises or sound in general. When this occurs the hearing/auditory system prioritises that sound and enhances its perception leading to the experience of hyperacusis.
The aim of the therapy is to help the patient to understand and change their cognitive reaction to sound to reduce the hyperacusis-related distress they experience. Once the distress is reduced the improvement in the sensitivity follows.
Research published recently in the American Journal of Audiology (2018) showed that on average the impact of hyperacusis on their life reduced from 50 % to 30% in patients who receive hyperacusis-focused cognitive therapy.
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