Published: 04th February 2011
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Tinnitus Cause: Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is the perception of a high auditory sensitivity to some noises or tones. It is an abnormal condition in which the complex electrical signals generated by sound vibrations are misinterpreted, confused, or exaggerated. Symptoms of hyperacusis can range from a mild sense of unease to a loss of balance with ear pain and ear ringing Tinnitus head noises.

Causes of hyperacusis can be auto-immune disorders, traumatic brain injury, metabolic disorders, among others. It is occasionally ascribed to psychological conditions rather than being recognized as a physiologic symptom of cochlear or vestibular damage.

There are two types of hyperacusis: cochlear and vestibular, with ear ringing Tinnitus head noise symptoms common to both.

With cochlear hyperacusis, subjects feel ear pain, discomfort, annoyance, or some other emotional reaction when certain sounds are heard, including those that are very soft or high-pitched. Such disturbances have been called by various names, including Tullio’s syndrome and audiogenic disorder, because some of the same reactions as with cochlear hyperacusis can also occur, such as sudden vertigo or nausea. In some cases, vestibular hyperacusis can affect the autonomic system and cause problems such as loss of consciousness, mental confusion, nausea, or extreme fatigue. In both cochlear and vestibular hyperacusis, headache is common in addition to ear ringingTinnitus symptoms.

A suspected cause of cochlear hyperacusis involves a loss of the regulatory function provided by the system that conducts impulses along the auditory neural pathways. Thus, for example, the sound of a passing car might be interpreted as comparable to the roar of a jet engine. Other possible causes involve brain-chemistry dysfunction or head trauma that damages the chain of tiny bones in the middle ear that amplify sound and help transmit vibrations to the inner ear fluid.

In vestibular hyperacusis, exposure to sound can result in falling or a loss of balance or postural control. Damage to the nerve cells in the balance system are suspected, possibly from head injury or due to chemical ingestions (e.g., medications or anesthesia), or circulatory changes due to heart disease or artery blockages. In addition, autoimmune disease, which can be triggered by many different causes, can harm the balance organ. Treatment of hyperacusis should be addressed along with the treatment of ear ringing Tinnitus head noise symptoms.

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