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Why have I developed excessive sensitivity towards sounds?

Q: I have a hearing problem, which has recently become very painful. This is opposite to what some people suffer from. I seem to have developed excessive sensitivity towards noise or sound of any kind. I cannot tolerate noise like the honking of vehicles or when people talk loudly. In fact, I started feeling so irritated about the ticking sound of my table and wall clock that I stopped both of them. I had difficulty in going to sleep with the sound of the table clock. After hearing any loud/shrill horn of the vehicles, I feel uneasiness in my head and ears for a long time. Is this a disease? What can I do about it?

A:From the kind of symptoms you are reporting, you seem to have developed extreme sensitivity to sound. This is called recruitment (in technical terms). But there has to be some reason for it to happen. There has to be some history to go along with it which you have not mentioned about. Anyway, I would recommend that you consult an audiologist and get a Pure Tone Audiogram done. If required he/she may give further recommendation regarding any further testing or remedy.

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