Hyperacusis is a condition that arises when the brain’s central auditory processing center incorrectly perceives noise. Often, this condition leads to discomfort and pain. Individuals with hyperacusis find it difficult to tolerate the sounds of everyday life, even those which do not seem loud to others. Riding in a car, running a faucet, walking on gravel--each of these activities can become a painful challenge. Every sound may be amplified, but high frequency sounds in particular may prove unbearable.
Hyperacusis has the potential to comprimise quality of life. Depending on the level of ambient noise, a severe intolerance may make it impossible for the individual to function at home or in their place of work. Hyperacusis can contribute to social isolation, phonophobia (fear of normal sounds), and depression.