We all have sounds we don’t like, but some people find certain sounds almost unbearable. Misophonia and hyperacusis are hearing conditions caused by a miscommunication in signals between your ears and brain when these sounds occur.
Determining the difference between these conditions is partially based on an individual’s reaction to trigger sounds. The two conditions can trigger significantly different emotional and physical reactions.
Listening to someone chew is not at the top of most people’s list of “pleasant sounds.” For those suffering from misophonia, chewing and other common sounds can cause a seemingly disproportionate response.
- Reactions to a sound or groups of sounds can include:
- Feelings of panic or anger
- Raised heartrate
- Tightness in the chest
Responses differ among those who suffer from misophonia. However, researchers have found the part of the brain that is activated during exposure to trigger sounds is also responsible for fear and other emotions.
This condition results in a sound causing physical pain in your ears. The severity of the pain depends on the volume of the sound. This means the louder the sound, the more painful the reaction.
Painful symptoms can also last for long periods of time. Hyperacusis is different from misophonia as hyperacusis is usually linked to previous ear or hearing trauma.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Hearing aids can help relieve the side effects or both these conditions. Sound therapy can be programed into some hearing aids to help reduce the painful attacks that accompany hyperacusis. They can also be programmed to detect and block out specific trigger noises for those with misophonia.