Prevalence of Hyperacusis and Its Relation to Health: The Busselton Healthy Ageing Study

Adriana L Smit, Inge Stegeman, Robert H Eikelboom, David M Baguley, Rebecca J Bennett, Susan Tegg-Quinn, Romola S Bucks, Robert J Stokroos, Michael Hunter, Marcus D Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


IMPORTANCE: The prevalence of hyperacusis and its relationship with mental and general health is unknown in a nonclinical sample. Therefore, we aimed to determine the prevalence of hyperacusis and its relation with hearing, general and mental health in a population-based study.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective population-based study.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study uses data from the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study (BHAS). A sample of 5,107 eligible inhabitants aged 45 to 70 years completed a detailed questionnaire and a clinical assessment. A positive answer to "Do you consider yourself sensitive or intolerant to everyday sounds" was used to indicate hyperacusis. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between hearing, mental and general health factors, and hyperacusis.

RESULTS: Of 5,107 participants, 775 (15.2%) reported hyperacusis. The majority of participants with hyperacusis reported an occasional effect on daily life (72.0%). Being female, older in age, having a lower income, physical or mental health difficulties, more severe hearing loss, and tinnitus were all associated with the presence of hyperacusis. Individuals who experience hearing impairment, poorer general or mental health have a higher possibility of hyperacusis having an effect on their daily life.

CONCLUSIONS: In this community population-based cohort study, we found a prevalence of hyperacusis of 15.2%. Individuals with hearing loss, mental health problems, and lower physical health have a higher possibility of experiencing effects on their daily life associated with their hyperacusis. Unravelling the relationship between hyperacusis hearing, general and mental health can be of major importance for a better understanding of the condition and its consequences.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II-2 Laryngoscope, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2887-E2896
JournalThe Laryngoscope
Issue number12
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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