While there has been long-standing interest in disorders of reduced hearing, it is only relatively recently that attention has been paid to disorders wherein hearing becomes uncomfortably sensitive, such that the sounds of everyday life can become overwhelming and painful. This condition, named hyperacusis,can have a very negative impact upon people’s quality of life and that of their family. This entry gives an overview of what is presently known about hyperacusis, and it indicates some important research questions that are unanswered at present.

Definitions and Terminology

Hyperacusis does not refer to the ability to hear very quiet sounds at long distances. Instead, it is the perception of sounds of moderate physical intensity (that are usually well tolerated by people) as being loud, intrusive, and overwhelming. Other terms ...

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