Quick Facts

    • May occur due to physical damage to the ear or an impairment in how the brain processes sound
    • Possible hearing difficulties include:
      • Tinnitus – ringing in the ear
      • Hyperacusis – hypersensitivity to sound
      • Meniere’s syndrome – pressure and pain in the ear
      • Auditory agnosia – inability of the brain to understand or recognize certain sounds and their meaning (i.e. hear the phone ring but not know what to do)
      • Hearing loss – sounds seem muffled, less clear and the ears may feel plugged

What does it
look like?

    • Restlessness, irritability, agitation
    • Becoming overwhelmed in certain environments (i.e. restaurants, stores, social gatherings)
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Difficulty following instructions and conversations

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Damage to the tiny bones of the middle ear
  • The inner ear or cochlea could also be fractured
  • Damage to the areas of the brain which process sound
  • May worsen with:
    • Exposure to loud noises
    • Alcohol, nicotine, and drugs/medications
    • Quinine found in tonic water

Possible complications:

  • Increased frustration and fatigue
  • Feelings of isolation and depression

What can we do?

    • Limit conversations to one or two people
    • Stand handshake distance away
    • Get attention before speaking and face individual
    • Hearing aids may be prescribed
    •  Use of other forms of communication to complement speech (i.e. written, pictorial)
    • Avoid staying completely away from everyday sounds as you can become hypersensitive
    • Slowly increase the exposure to noise in small increments
    • Use earplugs or ear muffs when necessary
    • Go to places when they are less crowded or noisy
    • Ensure proper diet, sleep and exercise
    • Reduce salt if fluid pressure is experienced in the ear
    • Encourage listening to music, having a fan running, or playing white noise to help mask the ringing in their ears from tinnitus

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.