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Ear Protection for Sensitive Ears: Best Hyperacusis Earplugs

Are you suffering from sensitive ears?

Do you have any idea how many people are affected by this disorder? The condition can be brought on by several things, head trauma, drugs / antibiotics, and neurological disorders. Hyperacusis comes in two forms, cochlear and vestibular.

Hyperacusis is a rare condition, but it does affect many. Many sufferers feel that the only way to improve their condition is to completely switch to wearing hearing protection at all times.

Read this article to find out more!

Table Of Contents

Introduction – Hyperacusis, Sensitive Ears.

Hyperacusis is a rare sensitive ear condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 50,000 people. The condition means that the sufferer has difficulty coping with everyday sounds, as they can lead to pain, stress, and anxiety.

The condition can be brought on by several things, head trauma, drugs / antibiotics, and neurological disorders. Hyperacusis comes in two forms, cochlear and vestibular.

In this article, we shall, of course, be discussing the Best Earplugs for Sensitive Ears, and discussing the condition, and what you can do to relieve, and hopefully permanently fix this problem.

In A Hurry?

If require the Best Hearing Protection for this item, and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended ear protection.

Having good earplugs at all times when you have sensitive ears is obviously a good idea. You can put them in when you are feeling uncomfortable. However, this is not always the best idea. The earplugs should only be worn when it is absolutely necessary – to stop any further deterioration. Read on to find out more!

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Earplug Effectiveness – NRR.

When you are buying earplugs for any reason, you want to know how effective they will be at reducing sounds. This is probably most true when you have Hyperacusis (Sensitive Ears). The sound is not just annoying or distracting. It can cause you physical pain.

Earplug’s effectiveness is measured in NRR (the Noise Reduction Rating). One point in NRR means the ear plugs with effectively block out one decibel (dB) of volume. So if you have a pair of NRR 20 rated plugs, and you are in an environment where the background noise is about 70dB, then you will hear the sound at around 50dB. (Fairly quiet – See the infographic below for an idea of what sound volumes are. )

Most earplugs and ear defenders have NRRs of between 10 and 30, with the highest numbers being better at blocking sounds. Because of the way we hear, you cannot get ear plugs that block all the sound to your ears.

Earplug Use With Hyperacusis.

When you have hyperacusis, earplugs will obviously give you relief as it blocks out a lot of the sounds that are causing you discomfort. However, try to carry your plugs more like a “comforter” rather than something you use daily.

A large proportion of people who suffer with hyperacusis overprotect their ears. WHAT? If you suffer from hyperacusis, there will be a tendency to wear some sort of ear protection whenever there is any amount of background noise. This can lead the hearing becoming more hypersensitizadized (is that a word?), as they are never being exposed to natural sound volumes.

Whenever the noise level reaches possibly hazardous levels, this is when you should wear your hearing protection. Hazardous noise levels start at about 85dB at the lower end of the scale. This is about the volume of city traffic when you are inside the car, or a gas-powered lawnmower.

As a sufferer, always carry some good noise-reducing earplugs for situations when you are in excessive noise, or you are having a terrible day and stressing out. However, they should really be carried for the comforting factor, knowing that should the need arise, you have them and can put them in at a moment’s notice. This alone will help lower your anxiety and stress levels, hopefully keeping the problem under control.

workman resting with ear protectors0

Types Of Earplug For Hyperacusis.

When you have sensitive ears, you will probably want to have multiple sets of ear protection for various situations and how you are feeling on that day. The following are a list of the plugs you may want.

What Is Hyperacusis (Sensitive Ears)?

Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder that can be debilitating for the sufferer. People with severe Hyperacusis have difficulty with everyday sounds, and all sufferers have specific frequencies and volumes of sound that they cannot stand. Many people with Hyperacusis also suffer from tinnitus.

People who have Hyperacusis have an intolerance to certain sounds. These sounds may cause pain, annoyance, and panic attacks.

Hyperacusis can be caused by several things:

There are treatments available. The most common one is to use retraining therapy using broadband noise (“Pink Noise”). By listening to this noise for periods each day, sufferers can rebuild their tolerance to the sounds which are affecting them.

This treatment can take months and sometimes even a couple of years. However, most patients who have tried this believe that it is worth the time. A complete recovery is not always made, but most people say they have a significant improvement in their suffering.

Doctor examine girls ears0

Pink Noise Treatment.

Pink noise is like white noise, the difference being that Pink noise covers the noises that we hear commonly in the everyday world, whereas white noise covers the entire sound spectrum.

When you have hyperacusis, you need to follow the correct procedure in order to retrain your hearing. This section is just a quick overview of what is required. The Hyperacusis Network  can give you the complete details on Pink noise therapy.

It has been reported that over 90% of Hyperacusis have seen improvements in their sound tolerances using this method.

The therapy involves using special hearing aids that play pink noise at almost inaudible volumes for periods of 2 to 8 hours a day. The treatment is aimed at making the ears desensitized to these sounds.

Visit The Hyperacusis Network for more details

How Do You Calm A Hyperacusis?

To help the hyperacusis, an audiologist and an acoustic therapy are used. Ear protection with an attenuating filter designed for hypersensitive ears and fitted by an audiologist.

These types of earplugs are made from foam filters and silicone rubber, so they can be put inside the canal and pressed against the pinna.

They are equipped with different sound filters that decrease external noises and high-frequency noises that may damage to overly sensitive ears if exposure continues unchecked.

Is Hyperacusis A Mental Illness?

People with hyperacusis are more likely to have a psychiatric disorder. Research by Hashir Aazh said that this may be up to 50%

When asked about how long it last, most people (45%) said it was gone within 3 days. 30% said that it would last for up to a month. The last 25% said it could be more than a month.

To test for Hyperacusis, go to an ear, nose and throat doctor and then sent to a hearing specialist.

To be diagnosed you have to have audiometric thresholds within the normal hearing range and yet still experience symptoms of hyperacusis, Tinnitus, sound sensitivity and/or noise induced pain from ordinary sounds.

Why Wear Earplugs?

When I wear earplugs, it’s different from when I am in a quiet environment with sound off. The sound is still there, but it doesn’t bother my ears as much because they are just “offloading” the sound.

But my ears are still sensitive to sounds that aren’t loud and loud sounds, like the doorbell or sirens, so can be painful on those intense levels.

Conclusions - Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis, hyperacusis syndrome, hyperacusis disorder, or just hyper-hearing is a condition which means an individual hears sounds and noises which cannot be produced by the normal ranges for sound. Hyperacusis can be triggered by different reasons such as noise exposure, stress or injuries.

If you suffer from hyperacusis, then you should try to wear earplugs as little as possible, to get used to real-world sounds again. However, always carry a good pair of plugs for the times when the noise becomes dangerously loud, or you are is a stressful situation!

Hyperacusis has been known to cause many effects like headaches and chronic pain. If you have suffered any of these symptoms and are not sure whether you have the condition then it is important to first rule out other causes before seeking help from your doctor. Your doctor will most likely advise that you visit a specialist who will conduct an audiometric test on your hearing ability so that they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

Best Ear Plugs

The following are the best earplugs  (They go from low price to high price.)

Hearprotek High Fidelity Concert Ear Plugs, Noise Reduction Music Earplugs, Hearing Protection for...
  • 【Preserve High Fidelity Audio】 Hearprotek Music ear plugs do an effective job of bringing down the overall volume, blocking background noises at a comfortable level while preserving the sound clarity and sharpness. You won't experience any muffling with these plugs as you would foam-based ones and you will be able to hear different sound frequencies and talk to people without having to worry of muffling.
  • 【20db Noise Reduction】 Comes with 2 sets of 20db ear plugs in different sizes (small & standard), cutting up an impressive 20db's of sound volume which is a pretty good amount for a concert or band rehearsal, and you can always have your spare plug in case any plugs are fallen out unfortunately or missing.
  • 【Designed For Comfort】 Made of high quality silicone material that provides comfort from prolonged usage. If you have small ear canals, the small size of ear plugs are your best choice, they are designed to have an ergonomic curved body with two flange tip that follows the shape of your ear canal, which provides a snag and comfortable fit.
  • 【Discrete & Portable】Low-profile design with translucent or frosted plug shells which are inconspicuous and a less noticeable appearance on stage, at the concert, at the club or in the office. Include a soft silicone detachable cord and come in a durable aluminum case with carabiner which clips easily to belts and bags to carry wherever you go, this way, there's no need to worry about losing your plugs.
  • 【Warm tips】The earplugs will not block all the noise completely, but they will preserve the quality of the music and make the volume within a safer listening level. So they’re not recommended for sleeping, hunting, shooting, motorcycling etc.
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus filtered Earplugs, triple flanged design, reusable, Black, Medium
  • 24dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) with filter caps inserted, Hear safe sound levels (with filter caps out) as if you weren't wearing ear plugs
  • Soft, adjustable, triple-flanged stems provide secure seals in ear canals and all-day comfort
  • Low-profile design allows you to keep them in place while wearing a mask, helmet, hat, or while using supplemental hearing muffs
  • Patented EarLock retention rings utilize seven contact points to lock earpieces in place and fit the same way every time
  • Made in USA from hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer that's soft, durable, and long-lasting
Perytong Sleep Headphones Wireless, Bluetooth Sports Headband Headphones with Ultra-Thin HD Stereo...
  • 【Sleep Headphones & Wireless Earphones & Sports Headband 3 in 1】Perytong Bluetooth Sleep Headphones feature a headband design with wireless speakers inside which help to tune out external noises and lull yourself to sleep Wireless headband adopt latest Bluetooth 5 0 version with 33 feet of wireless range and compatible with most iOS Android or windows system wireless devices like smartphone table ipad or laptop
  • 【Best Sleeping Headphones for Side Sleeper】The devices control module is in the middle of speakers won’t press the ears which is very comfortable for side sleepers sleeping The ultra-thin flat headphone speakers are comfortable enough to wear while lying down or sleeping on your side They block out ambient noise without using earplugs that are painful & fall out
  • 【Comfortable and breathable material】this sports headband is made from a soft cool material that absorbs sweat is very breathable and fast drying making it excellent for jogging or working out These headbands are washable very easy to clean (just remove headphones from the headband)
  • 【Long Battery Life】Perytong sleep headphones offer a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours Quality chip set ensure clear sound and lossless music even the headphones are in the sports headphones There are built-in microphone and volume control buttons which enable users to answer hands-free phone calls and handle previous/next song without having to use your phone
  • 【Fashion Comfy & Washable】Our headphones headband is made of special fabric compressive on pressure to protect your ears and great breathability Please take out the Bluetooth module before full wash the headband
Cyber Acoustics Professional Safety Heavy Duty Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection and Noise Reduction...
  • EXTREME NOISE SUPPRESSION: Noise reduction rating NRR 26dB, SNR 32dB and ANSI & CE tested and certified. These earmuffs can also be used with ear plugs for maximum noise supression.
  • HEARING PROTECTION: Protect your ears from extreme loud noises. Hearing protectors reduce the noise exposure level and help protect against potential hearing damage.
  • MULTI-USE: Ideal for construction work, ground support, hunting, shooting range and target practice, air travel, concerts and sporting events, drum and band practice, high traffic and racing zones, and enhanced quiet study.
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: For all day wear, with deep ear cavities for roomy comfort and an extra padded adjustable headband.
  • ONE SIZE FITS ALL: With an adjustable headband and retractable ear pieces, these hearing protectors can be adjusted to fit most head sizes, both children and adults.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

People Also Ask

Can Hyperacusis Go Away On Its Own?

There are several reasons that you can get hyperacusis, and depending on the cause, it is possible that the problem will go away of its own accord. If hyperacusis was caused by trauma to the ears or brain, the sensitivity to sound will lessen.

When the cause of your sensitive ears is not known, there is less chance that the situation is going to improve with no treatment

One of the most effective ways to get rid of this condition is to listen to “Pink Noise” through a suitable set of headphones

Is Hyperacusis A Mental Illness?

There are many reasons that a person can get hyperacusis. These are both physical – for example, damaging hearing by listening to something too loud, or head trauma. Sensitive hearing can also be brought about by drugs and antibiotics. Both cases would not be considered a mental illness.

The last cause of hyperacusis are neurological disorders, which some may class as a form of mental illness

Does Hyperacusis Get Worse?

The answer is – It depends.

What causes the hyperacusis is one factor. If it was brought on by loud noises, and you keep exposing yourself to the same sounds, then it will probably get worse. If it was brought about by head trauma, this will hopefully not keep reoccurring, so it should remain constant.

Any treatment and your lifestyle may also influence whether it gets worse. As mentioned before, if you are always wearing earplugs to block sound, then this may lead to a worsening condition.

If you suffer from this condition, carry earplugs or headphones with you in case you really need them. But only wear them when it is absolutely necessary to prevent the condition worsening.

Is Hyperacusis A Disability?

If you know someone with hyperacusis, then you know that it really is a disability as it totally affects the suffers life. However, some countries do not recognize it as a disability.

I am not an expert, not an American (I am British), so I do not feel it is my place to answer this question. I will take the answer from another paper on the subject.

“Yes, people with auditory disorders have sensory impairments that meet the legal standard of having disabilities.”

Read the full paper here 


If you require more information, please check these references

en.wikipedia.org , article, “Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

www.webmd.com , article, “Sound Sensitivity Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

journals.sagepub.com , article, “Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

journals.sagepub.com , article, “The Relationship of Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, and Hearing Loss”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

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