Please Note: The Hyperacusis Network accepts no advertising on it's website or newsletters. However, there are products that have stood the test of time and have been found to be very helpful to patients with hyperacusis. It is important to emphasize that hyperacusis patients should never wear ear protection constantly because it will likely deepen their sensitivity to sound and make it harder for them to recover (re-establish their tolerance to sound). However, when the patient enters areas which are loud, especially over 85 decibels, ear protection is necessary (especially for the hyperacusis patient) until they are able to complete retraining therapy which is described in the link on our website titled "What Can Be Done." These products have been found to be helpful. Some of these products are sold directly from the network at cost and are available to members of the network. Remember - the network is free.
Prices shown for the products below include postage to anywhere in the world. Payment must be made in US dollars (no credit cards are accepted). Payment through Paypal is available if sent to:
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The Hyperacusis Network
4417 Anapaula Lane
Green Bay, Wisconsin, 54311
$40.00 (US) $50.00 (International). Pink Noise CD. International orders require your telephone number on the custom form. Your purchase includes an analog unfiltered pink noise CD (Single track, 73 continuous minutes) in WAV. format made specifically for individuals with decreased sound tolerance (DST), a six page detailed guideline explaining the mechanics of pink noise, how to proceed with sound therapy in the comfort of your own home with the help of your local audiologist or ENT who will test your Loudness Discomfort Levels (LDL's) and how to track your progress.
$60.00 (US) $70.00 (International) - 16 GB Pink Noise Flash drive. International orders require your telephone number on the customs form. Your purchase includes an analog unfiltered pink noise CD (Single track, 73 continuous minutes) in WAV. format made specifically for individuals with decreased sound tolerance (DST), a six page detailed guideline explaining the mechanics of pink noise, how to proceed with sound therapy in the comfort of your own home with the help of your local audiologist or ENT who will test your Loudness Discomfort Levels (LDL's) and how to track your progress.
To Order simply go to the home page and click on the Products/Pink Noise CD link.
PLEASE NOTE: NEW POSTAL REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT ALL INTERNATIONAL ORDERS (OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES) MUST INCLUDE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS. PLEASE INCLUDE THAT WHEN YOU ORDER THROUGH PAYPAL.
If you need any of the products above but cannot afford them, they may be sent to you free (at no charge).
Pink Noise CD or Flashdrive. Before we talk about pink noise you must understand what white noise is. White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise. The adjective "white" is used to describe this type of noise because of the way white light works. White light is light that is made up of all of the different colors (frequencies) of light combined together. In the same way, white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound. You can think of white noise as 20,000 tones all playing at the same time. Because white noise contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. If you are in a hotel and voices from the room next-door are leaking into your room, you might turn on a fan to drown out the voices. The fan produces a good approximation of white noise. Why does that work? Why does white noise drown out voices? Here is one way to think about it. Let's say two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally "pick out" one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. It turns out that 1,000 people talking together sounds a lot like white noise. So when you turn on a fan to create white noise, you are essentially creating a source of 1,000 voices. The voice next-door makes it 1,001 voices, and your brain can't pick it out any more. Now, let's talk about pink noise. The task for the hyperacusis patient is to retrain their ears so that everyday sounds (environmental sounds) are once again tolerable. Environmental (everyday) sounds typically do not include high frequencies. High frequencies occur occasionally - like when a bird is chirping, but not on a regular basis. High frequency sounds are bothersome to the hyperacusis patient. For that reason, a type of sound that would be most beneficial for the hyperacusis patient, in trying to retrain their ears, would be a type of sound that does NOT include the high frequencies and allows them to live in their surroundings (world) in a way that sound is not a problem. That specific sound is pink noise. By listening to sounds we hear in every day life, we can see real progress and live in the mainstream of life. That is broadband (or pink noise) therapy. The directions are simple. Listen to this CD or 'preloaded' iPod Shuffle at a comfortable level. Comfortable is different for each and every one of us. Only you can determine this volume setting. Usually the volume should be set at a barely audible level (very soft). By doing that it does not exacerbate any patients who also have tinnitus. If you start listening to pink noise 5, 10, then 15 minutes for a couple of days you will find that over a short period of time your ears will actually feel comforted by pink noise. If you feel you ever have a setback, don't worry. Your ears are just getting acquainted with pink noise and will soon welcome this sound – providing you are doing it at a comfortable volume. Your goal would be to listen to pink noise at least 2 hours a day or more (ideal is up to 8 hours a day). This does not have to be done all at once. It can be broken up throughout your day. This CD can be played on CD player like a Walkman, or on your stereo. This was a lengthy explanation of pink noise, but it is critical that you understand this process. One final note: The ideal way to retrain your ears with broadband pink noise is through a process called TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy). This therapy utilizes a special hearing aid that plays pink noise. It is worn on the ears allowing the patient free mobility rather than being tied down to playing a pink noise CD through a walkman or stereo. These special hearing devices are available through hearing professionals who have been specially trained to administer this treatment. To obtain the name of a doctor, contact the network.
For individuals who cannot wear an earplug in their ear canal or have trouble rolling down foam earplugs, might consider this earplug. They are moldable and offer an NRR rating of 22 decibels. Again, these earplugs are available to network members. Prices are quoted in the newsletter.
Etymotic Research develops several earplugs. One of particular interest is the inexpensive Hi-Fidelity earplugs. ETY•Plugs® are the world's highest fidelity non-custom earplugs. They reduce most noise to safe levels while preserving the clarity of speech and the richness of music. ETY•Plugs are configured to replicate the natural response of the ear canal so that when sound enters the earplug, it is reproduced unchanged, exactly the same as the ear would hear it, only quieter. They also offers earplugs for children.
Earmuffs provide maximum protection from noise of all frequencies. They are typically used in areas where there is very loud noise. Important features to consider are: price, weight (best to have lightweight earmuffs), compact size (some fold up for easy storage), comfort of the ear pads, the amount of pressure the tension of the earmuff exerts on the head and the noise reduction rating (NRR). Sometimes hyperacusis patients believe that if they use a 30 NRR rated earmuff with a pair of foam earplugs with a 30 NRR rating that they will achieve total protection from sound to the tune of 56 decibels. This is false. Sound is conducted through our skeletal structure so it is not possible to achieve this kind of result. Hyperacusis must be careful not to wear earmuffs too much. The more we deprive our ears from sound, the more sound sensitive they will become. We must always keep them active in order to re-establish our tolerances to sound. However, if a hyperacusis patient needs to use a hammer, mow the lawn, use a snow blower, vacuum the carpeting, or perhaps even unload a dishwasher - an earmuff can help us get through the task. One of the best earmuffs that have performed well over the years have been the Thunder earmuffs. They are comfortable, lightweight, and are very economical. They can be viewed on their website.
Noise cancellation headsets have been on the market for a number of years. Unfortunately many people think they are made to cancel out all noise. Ear muffs cancel out all noise - not noise cancellation headsets. These headsets are somewhat of a technological marvel. They are made to cancel out low frequency sound, yet allow the user to hear other sounds perfectly clear. They are excellent at cancelling out the sound of interior airplane noise, ventilation noise in a vehicle, the sound of the fan on a refrigerator and the hum that comes from your computer. Medium and high frequency sounds are not cancelled at all so don't make the mistake of buying these units with this kind of expectation. The best noise cancellation headphones on the market right now are made by Bose and can be viewed at their website.
Sound Level Meter This is a very useful tool in determining the decibel level of a product or surroundings. People with hyperacusis often worry about the potential noise that 'might' be generated in their environment by attending a certain event or in accomplishing a specific task. This is called phonophobia. It makes sense that if we feel our hyperacusis resulted from overexposure to noise, we want to do anything possible to prevent our condition from worsening. Given that, we sometimes tend to over-worry about things. I mean we might actually choose to refrain from participating in certain events or accomplishing certain tasks, when in reality it would not hurt us at all particularly if we are wearing ear protection at the time. Having said all of that, let's use an example of what I am trying to say here. Let's say we want to buy a vacuum cleaner, or just use the vacuum cleaner we already have, but worry that with hyperacusis, we can no longer do this task. Do this - have someone in your family test the decibel level of the vacuum cleaner with the Sound Level Meter. If you are actually buying a vacuum cleaner you will be surprised at the wide range of noise generated by different vacuum cleaners. This can guide you on purchasing the most noise friendly vacuum cleaner. If you are buying a product, do not be bashful about asking the sales clerk to start up (run) a product you would like to buy to test it's decibel level. Back to the example: Lets pretend the vacuum cleaner tests at 90 decibels. Now, a good pair of ear muffs (which reduces any noise by about 30 decibels) would reduce the sound of this task from 90 decibels - minus 30 decibels (using ear muffs) = a remainder of 60 decibels. How loud is 60 decibels? Well, normal conversation is about 65 decibels. If you can tolerate normal conversation, then you can vacuum with earmuffs.
You must consult with a qualified physician or hearing healthcare clinician to find the proper treatment for hyperacusis. All content, text, graphics, and information is for general informational purposes and is not intended for use as a diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. The Hyperacusis Network is a free network and accepts no advertising. Any information received is kept confidential and shared with no one.