Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What makes one overly sensitive to sound?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat makes one overly sensitive to sound?


I'm a man who just turned 30, and I've been extra-sensitive to sound for my whole life. It's so severe, I'm starting to think something's wrong with me. Is there a mental condition that can make a person overly sensitive to sound?


Extra sensitivity to sound is known as hyperacusis and has a large list of possible causes. If it is caused by a disease, infection, or tumor, it is almost always associated with other symptoms. For this reason, I cannot narrow down the possible causes of your symptoms, but I can give you a broad idea of what some of the possibilities are. This is a problem that usually is initially worked up by your primary care physician. Both neurologists and ENT doctors sometimes will see patients with hyperacusis as well. Intermittent hyperacusis can be caused by migraine headaches, but you would have the other symptoms that go along with migraines. New onset hyperacusis can be caused by conditions such as meningitis, Lyme disease, head trauma, viral infections, Bell's Palsy, or some brain tumors. These conditions have many associated symptoms that are the focus of each disease. Life long hyperacusis is much more unusual and more likely to be benign. Patients will most often have associated tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and occasionally vertigo (sensation that room is spinning) or nausea. You would need a workup to determine the cause (if any) before initiating treatment. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers 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 (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.