People with tinnitus hear extra sounds, e.g. ringing, buzzing, whistling. Young and old. From the normal hearing, hard of hearing, and Deaf communities.
People with hyperacusis hear sound painfully loud, even regular everyday sounds that don’t bother other people. Young and old. Normal and hard of hearing. Deaf people don’t get hyperacusis.
How much do you know about hearing tinnitus and hyperacusis? Test yourself with this fun fast quiz.
Tinnitus and hyperacusis go together like chronic pain and chronic fatigue.
Tinnitus and hyperacusis are both are from hyperactive hearing systems in the brain. Coping tools and treatments are similar for both.
It's abnormal if children have tinnitus or hyperacusis.
Some people are born with tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. Children with tinnitus usually think it's weird nobody else has their own sound. Children with hyperacusis often wonder why other people aren't bothered by the sounds that hurt their ears. Research shows children often don't tell anyone they have tinnitus-hyperacusis unless directly asked.
What is the right way to say the word tinnitus?
Trick question. There really isn't any right way. Tee-nee-toos is the original Latin way. Depending on where people live or study, [tin-it-us] and [tin-night-us] are both fine to use. I say [tin-it-us] you say [tin-night-us]. I say [toh-may-to] you say [toh-mah-to].....
Current tinnitus-hyperacusis treatment research includes:
There's so much international research now it's hard to keep track of. So many different approaches including sound therapy, mind therapy, and body therapy related. Every year, the British Tinnitus Association publishes an overview of each year's important tinnitus and hyperacusis research. I'm excited to read the BTA 2018 Tinnitus [Hyperacusis] Research Review when it comes out this year.
What is the right way to say hyperacusis?
I admit it. I have trouble saying hyperacusis the same way every time. So I say hyper ears when I'm talking about tinnitus and hyperacusis. It offends some people. I think it makes the problem clear. Like baldness versus alopecia. Except hyper ears includes tinnitus AND hyperacusis. We've got to stick together, folks. We need a strong community.
How many people have hearing loss plus tinnitus-hyperacusis?
The majority of people mainly distressed by tinnitus also have hyperacusis, and the majority of people mainly distressed by hyperacusis also have tinnitus.
New hearing tests show hidden hearing loss after loud noise damage.
Hidden hearing loss (HHL) can only be identified after death during autopsies of inner ears/hearing nerves. With HHL, connections between inner ears and hearing nerves snap, and hearing nerves start to rip and fray. It's called hidden because there are no symptoms. No pain. No hearing changes. No tinnitus-hyperacusis. Just invisible progressive hearing nerve damage. The tinnitus-hyperacusis and hearing loss will come later ~ages 20-54 with repeated noise damage over time. Noise damage is much worse than scientists realized in the past.
Wearing hearing protection is like wearing bicycle helmets.
Wearing hearing protection is like wearing swim goggles. Sound waves travel like water waves. Without a full seal around the ears or blocking the ear canals, loud noise will leak in and damage hearing.
Deaf people can hear tinnitus.
33% of Deaf people have tinnitus distress (compared to 10-15% of people in the general population). Remember tinnitus is from hyperactive hearing systems in the Deaf person's normal brain - not from inner ear hearing loss where Deafness mainly comes from. Good thing there are coping tool options that don't rely on hearing or sound to help Deaf people cope better, e.g. mind therapy.
Who are the primary care providers for people with tinnitus-hyperacusis distress?
Audiologists are educated, trained, licensed, and certified in non-medical tinnitus-hyperacusis evaluation, treatment, and prevention. If you're distressed, get a referral or talk to your local audiologist about coping tools and management options, including prescription hearing protection, that can give any distressed person a better quality of life. Something can be done.
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Hope you enjoyed my quiz and maybe learned a little something new!
Quiet cheers, Jan
Jan L. Mayes
Author, audiologist, educator, noise activist, bookworm, playing with words.