Molly’s Story

“My hyperacusis was caused by a noise incident. A small vial of supercooled gas was brought to room temperature too quickly, and as the gas expanded, the vial exploded. It was maybe a foot from my left ear at the time. I’ve always had occasional tinnitus, but that accident made it worse. This was about 7 years ago.

In the beginning it was really awful, most high-pitched sounds were really painful. Not even that high, either; I had to have female friends talk into my right ear, because the pitch of their voices was painful in my left. I couldn’t listen to music at all except through a single earbud in my right ear.

I did a little Googling, and found a pink noise generator to listen to, which I’d do whenever I was sitting at my computer, for about 6 months after that. I don’t know if it helped, or if the hyperacusis would have gone away on its own. After about 2 years post-accident, I was no longer regularly noticing symptoms. I’m more sensitive to high pitched noises in general than most people, but I can have normal conversations, listen to music normally, etc. My occasional tinnitus seems more frequent now than it did before, but I don’t have any real measurements or documentation to back that up… But the hyperacusis, specifically, is certainly much less than it was right after the accident, if not completely gone. All my impressions are subjective since I haven’t returned to an audiologist since my initial visit after the accident, which determined I had no hearing loss.”

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