A review of hyperacusis and future directions: part I. Definitions and manifestations

Am J Audiol. 2014 Dec;23(4):402-19. doi: 10.1044/2014_AJA-14-0010.


Purpose: Hyperacusis can be extremely debilitating, and at present, there is no cure. We provide an overview of the field, and possible related areas, in the hope of facilitating future research.

Method: We review and reference literature on hyperacusis and related areas. We have divided the review into 2 articles. In Part I, we discuss definitions, epidemiology, different etiologies and subgroups, and how hyperacusis affects people. In Part II, we review measurements, models, mechanisms, and treatments, and we finish with some suggestions for further research.

Results: Hyperacusis encompasses a wide range of reactions to sound, which can be grouped into the categories of excessive loudness, annoyance, fear, and pain. Many different causes have been proposed, and it will be important to appreciate and quantify different subgroups. Reasonable approaches to assessing the different forms of hyperacusis are emerging, including psychoacoustical measures, questionnaires, and brain imaging.

Conclusions: Hyperacusis can make life difficult for many, forcing sufferers to dramatically alter their work and social habits. We believe this is an opportune time to explore approaches to better understand and treat hyperacusis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Hyperacusis / diagnosis*
  • Hyperacusis / etiology
  • Hyperacusis / physiopathology
  • Hyperacusis / therapy
  • Noise / adverse effects