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Sensitivity to Noise/Phonophobia

Sensory overload in relation to noise may be referred to as hypersensitivity to noise or phonophobia. This may develop following brain injury or injury to the inner ear. Everyday sounds and/or frequencies may be experienced as uncomfortably loud and/or painful. These sounds/frequencies would be perceived as normal and comfortable by people without brain injury.

Hyperacusis refers to increased sensitivity to everyday sounds including particular volumes and frequencies.

Sensitivity to sound is often associated with hearing impairment and/or tinnitus but may also occur without auditory impairment. It is important that any audiological factors are considered and appropriate referral for assessment is made to local audiology services.

It is important to recognise that there may be a number of significant contributory factors in the development of auditory hypersensitivity/phonophobia following brain injury.

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