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Unique clinical service for children with decreased sound tolerance

Human ear closeup

The Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Clinic (THC), part of the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic, is uniquely equipped to help children whose lives are affected by an inability to tolerate everyday sounds.

Some children, with and without other diagnosed neurological conditions, find everyday sounds so painful or unpleasant that they alter their daily lives to avoid these sounds. This can affect their ability to participate in family life, school, and social activities.

Deceased sound tolerance comes in two main forms: hyperacusis and misophonia. Hyperacusis is an oversensitivity, usually a feeling of physical discomfort, whenever a certain kind of sound is heard. These negative reactions are based entirely on the loudness, pitch, or other physical characteristics of the sound. If a moderately loud, high-pitched noise bothers a child with hyperacusis, it will not matter if that sound is a younger sibling screaming or the noise made by a favorite toy. Any sound with those characteristics is not tolerated. A child with misphonia is only bothered by certain sounds in certain environments. A common example is the sound of people chewing. They can typically tolerate the sound of themselves chewing but hearing others eat or chew gum elicits an intensely negative emotional reaction. If presented with other sounds with similar physical characteristics but not in the context of chewing, these sounds would be tolerated. With misophonia, these are learned or conditioned reactions based on previous experiences with those sounds.

Our staff at the THC understand these conditions and the impact they have on children and their families. We take the time to understand each child’s unique situation and provide an individualized treatment plan.

If you are a patient or parent who would like to learn more about the Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Clinic, please contact the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic at 309.438.8641.

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