Temporary hypersensitivity vs. hyperacusis

Posted by cudabinacontenda @cudabinacontenda, Jun 19 10:52am

How long is normal to have sensitivity to sounds after an acoustic trauma? At what point is it considered hyperacusis? I was exposed to very loud noise during a head MRI in which I don’t think the protective earmuffs properly covered one ear. I had been trying to focus on not having a claustrophobic panic attack in the machine, so I was less focused on the noise and didn’t stop the exam. Only when I came out, did I notice my right ear was muffled and full. For over two weeks now, I’ve been very sensitive to noises and moderate ones can make me feel like my ear is getting muffled again. Yet my audiology test a week after the event showed only a 5-10 decibel loss at the 6 and 8 kHz level with the rest in normal ranges. My reflexes were lower in my affected ear, but still in normal ranges, apparently. Sadly, my right ear was “my good ear” so there was likely more damage than the rest indicates. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all!

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@cudabinacontenda, you're asking all the right questions. Allow me to bring in a few members like @lacy2 @wayfarer @mzhp1988 @mikepa @nurseheadakes @lhester10 who have experience with hyperacusis and who may be able to shed some light or share their experiences.

What next steps did the audiologist suggest?

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Preservation of your ears is goal number one. Staying away from loud noises in any environment should be your immediate response right now. Allowing your brain time off to heal would help along with high end prebiotics and probiotics. The communications between your gut and brain has been noted to work on each others behalf. If you have pain with any type of loud noise, you more than likely have hyperacusis. Then it behooves you to protect your ears always with ear plugs & hearing aids that take this into consideration and walking away from anything that is too noisy. When I have my MRA's done, I don't wear the headphones, I wear my expensive hearing plugs that tune out the noises. That way I don't make my tinnitus or hearing loss worse. I learned this by experience from years ago. Eloise

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Thank you, Colleen and Eloise. I was pretty disappointed with my care, so I’m looking for a new doctor. His response was that MRI hearing loss is uncommon, and he didn’t think it was that. He then went on to diagnose ETD, which may or not be a complicating factor, but clearly not the catalyst. He told me it’s all psychological (given that my audiology test was mostly in normal ranges) and to try to get back to normal life as much as possible. He did give me a referral for hyperacusis counseling, and I’ve already reached out. It’s been really tough protecting my ears without shutting down my life because I live in New York City. I’ve been doing my best to avoid loud sounds and wear ear protection outside. Even in the house it’s difficult. Yesterday, I accidentally knocked the toilet seat down, and it made the loudest clatter. I’ve read not to shut out all sound cuz that’s bad for brain conditioning. I put classical music on low volume to keep my ears active but not in distress. The last complicating factor was that I went through the first ten days of this ordeal with Covid and all the respiratory complications including sinus pressure. I’ve been absolutely miserable. I’ll likely go for another hearing test this week because I’m pretty skeptical of single opinions, especially of my current doc.

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@cudabinacontenda

Thank you, Colleen and Eloise. I was pretty disappointed with my care, so I’m looking for a new doctor. His response was that MRI hearing loss is uncommon, and he didn’t think it was that. He then went on to diagnose ETD, which may or not be a complicating factor, but clearly not the catalyst. He told me it’s all psychological (given that my audiology test was mostly in normal ranges) and to try to get back to normal life as much as possible. He did give me a referral for hyperacusis counseling, and I’ve already reached out. It’s been really tough protecting my ears without shutting down my life because I live in New York City. I’ve been doing my best to avoid loud sounds and wear ear protection outside. Even in the house it’s difficult. Yesterday, I accidentally knocked the toilet seat down, and it made the loudest clatter. I’ve read not to shut out all sound cuz that’s bad for brain conditioning. I put classical music on low volume to keep my ears active but not in distress. The last complicating factor was that I went through the first ten days of this ordeal with Covid and all the respiratory complications including sinus pressure. I’ve been absolutely miserable. I’ll likely go for another hearing test this week because I’m pretty skeptical of single opinions, especially of my current doc.

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Hi cu I have hyperacusis and tinnitus. I also went for an unrelated MRI. They provided me with regulation ear muffs but shortly after I stopped the MRI. It was too loud. I won’t take a chance with anything that could even remotely affect my hearing. Apparently you can reduce hyperacusis by conditioning your ear by beginning slowly to increase your sound tolerance by listening to slightly louder sounds.slowly. Mine is improved partly because I have old age hearing loss which is a two sided blessing.

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You were very smart, Willows. I was in such a bad state, I didn’t protect myself.

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@cudabinacontenda

You were very smart, Willows. I was in such a bad state, I didn’t protect myself.

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I worry that some day some doctor is going to tell me I must have an MRI. It could be a matter of life or death. In that case I will buy foam ear plugs, insert and make sure they are fully open then put on regulation ear muffs that the hospital has approved for MRI use, and tell the radiologist or whoever is administering the MRI not to play any music through the ear muffs and realize that with the foam earplugs I won’t be able to hear their voice so to keep quiet.I am sorry you are in a bad place right now but in my experience tinnitus tends to have bad an somewhat better periods. Hyperacusis can also be improved over time.

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Thank you for your kind words, Willows, and your plan for yourself sounds good. I have had MRIs before, but never was my head enclosed in the tube. Either my legs were in or for my shoulders it was an open machine. I also didn’t know that they come in two different magnet types: 1.5T and 3T, with the latter being much louder. I was in a 3T unfortunately, likely had never been. So I was caught off guard by the noise and, as I said, immobilized by claustrophobia and exhausted by COVID, so I just lacked the wherewithal to protect myself. It was only an 8-minute screen too, which put me further off-guard as it put in my brain that it would be over quickly.

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