ZocdocAnswersWhy are my ears only sensitive to certain noises?

Question

Why are my ears only sensitive to certain noises?

My ears are sensitive, but only when it comes to certain noises. They don't necessarily have to be loud either. Like someone just shutting a door or something cooking in a frying pan. Why am I only sensitive when it comes to certain noises?

Answer

It is important first to define what you mean by 'sensitive' to certain noises. If you mean that the noises just bother or irritate you (for example, many people are bothered by the sound of fingernails on a chalk board), then this is not a medical problem. However, if you mean that certain noises actually cause you pain or discomfort, then this is a condition called hyperacusis, and you should see your doctor about it. The fact that only certain noises bother you could be explained by the fact that your hyperacusis might be triggered only be noises with a certain sound frequency. I would start with a visit to your primary care doctor. This is because many of the most common causes of hyperacusis are conditions that your primary care doctor can diagnose and treat. For example, fluid behind the ear drum, called a serous effusion, can cause this, as can chronic sinus congestion. If your primary care doctor does not identify an obvious cause, they will probably want to refer you to an audiologist for a formal hearing test. If you have evidence on the formal hearing test of hearing impairment, then you will need to see an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.