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Ear Protection for Sensitive Ears: Best Hyperacusis Earplugs

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.

No products found.

Which are the best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears?

For Sensitive Ears, the best ear plugs are Mpow Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs.

However, this will depend on several things. If you use them a lot, for example, if it is your principal job, or perhaps just minor use. Also, if you want to use these ear plugs for other things, like listen to music, or Answer Your Phone.

There are earplug options available, for example: Convenient Fitting, Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), Long-Lasting, Flexibility, and if you want earplugs or headphones. As you can see, there is a lot in picking the best fit.

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!

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.

  • Small Plugs. These are plugs you can carry around with you all the time, so that when you really need them they are to hand. They need to be small so that they can fit comfortably in your pocket or bag. These can be solid plugs that block out as much noise as possible. High Fidelity plugs that reduce loud noises to more manageable volumes. Or Noise-canceling headphones you can connect to your smartphone and play music, or “Pink Noise” to block the outside world.

  • Bluetooth Earmuffs. Large ear muffs that cover the whole ear. These are far more obvious than the above ear buds to play music, but have the advantage that they block the outside world better. These can be kept in the home and taken with you when you will go to a situation that may be louder or more stressful.

  • Noise Blocking Earmuffs. These are heavy-duty earmuffs that do not play music. The sole purpose of these is to block sound. Get some with the highest NRR to block out as much noise as possible. Great for when there is something particularly noisy, or you really need some quiet time. You can wear your smaller ear bugs under these for extra quiet or play music.

  • White Noise Machine. OK, these are not earplugs – well spotted. White noise machines plays background noise which can really help hyperacusis. Many people with hyperacusis also have tinnitus. Playing a white noise machine can help you sleep and even masks any other sounds that may have caused pain or anxiety. I have tinnitus, and these machines really help you sleep with this condition.

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:

  • Loud sounds
  • Lyme disease
  • Ear infections
  • Psychoactive drugs
  • Antibiotics – ciprofloxacin
  • And others

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 a acoustic therapy are used over time. 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 types of sound filters that decrease external noises as well as high-frequency noises that may be damaging to overly sensitive ears if exposure continues unchecked.

Is hyperacusis a mental illness?

People with hyperacusis are more likely to have some form of psychiatric disorder. Research by Hashir Aazh said that this may be upto 50%

How long does hyperacusis last?

When asked about this 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 that a month

How do you test for hyperacusis?

To test for this, 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 than 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 "offload" the sound.

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

Conclusions - Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis

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!

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.)

No products found.

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, there is a chance that the sensitivity to sound will lessen over time.

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 likely 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 

References

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

About This Article 

Date : July 25, 2020

Author : Nick, Website Owner And Writer

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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