When people make comments about your tinnitus or hyperacusis, these are some suggestions for raising awareness about hyperactive hearing.

I have that too. I hear a noise in my ears every now and then. Sound made my ears sore once.

Don’t punch them in the nose. Don’t punch them in the nose. Don’t punch them in the nose. Deep breath.

That’s regular human ears, not hyper ears (tinnitus and/or hyperacusis). Hyper ears hear too much sound. Tinnitus is hearing system hyperactivity; hearing extra sound(s) nobody else can hear. Hyperacusis is hearing system hyperactivity;  hearing sounds extra loud compared to other people.

Tinnitus usually can’t  make up its mind how loud it wants to be or how it wants to sound. In severe  cases, it can be like never-ending fingernails on the blackboard or an endless  car alarm. Hyperacusis is like the hearing equivalent of banging your elbow from regular daily sounds that don’t bother other people. Sound hurts. 

Maybe you just need a job (hobby, etc.) to take your mind off your hyper ears.

Translation = You must be lazy. The fact is, tinnitus and hyperacusis are individual. Some people have fairly mild symptoms. Others are very distressed. Getting involved in  a project can help to distract your mind from the hyper ears for short periods of time, which is a helpful part of a coping plan. But there are limits to the amount of time in a day a person can spend on hobbies. There are still times when trying  to go about daily activities or get to sleep when hyper ears are front and centre and hobbies won’t help.

You just need to exercise more.

Isn’t this another way of insinuating that you’re lazy? If more exercise were the  answer, nobody would have tinnitus or hyperacusis. Yes, exercise is an important  component of any coping plan, but it’s only one part. 

Tinnitus and hyperacusis aren't real.

Scientists have documented brain hyperactivity in people with tinnitus and hyperacusis using objective brain imaging testing. This type of test is now being used in legal cases to prove if a person has a hyperactive hearing system or not. 

If you got more sleep, you’d feel better.

Well, duh! Try falling asleep with a constant sound in your head or when even the smallest of sounds is heard as if the volume is stuck on high. One of the  problems with hyper ears is also that sometimes the body doesn’t go into the  deepest stage of sleep. Even if you manage to stay asleep for several hours, you  may not wake up feeling refreshed. And most sleep medications may help you  get more hours of sleep, but may not give you the deep sleep you need.

I read about a cure for tinnitus.

This can be one of the toughest comments to deal with because it’s usually said by well-meaning friends or family who genuinely want you to feel better. Cure product $ale$ are all over the internet. There are dozens of products out there claiming to cure tinnitus. If there really was a cure available now for tinnitus, we  would all be using it. It would be international news. There’s not, but tinnitus and hyperacusis distress are both treatable. 

At least it’s not fatal.

True. But slow torture is not something people would willingly choose. Of course we’re glad it’s not fatal. But that doesn’t help reduce hyper ears distress. It doesn’t help raise research funding or tinnitus and hyperacusis awareness. Understandably, people tend to be more interested in preventing death than improving quality of life. 

But you look fine.

You can’t see hearing hyperactivity. It’s invisible like chronic pain. This comment puts the person with hyper ears between the proverbial rock and hard place. If we let ourselves go and show how we actually feel, people are uncomfortable and don’t want to be around us. On the other hand, if we manage to fix ourselves up and put on a brave face, no one realizes we’re struggling. If somebody said, “My diabetes is flared up” people would be very understanding. If somebody says, “My tinnitus and/or hyperacusis are flared up”, why should it be any different?

It’s imaginary.

Some people imply you’re bonkers if you say you have hyper ears. Professionals like audiologists do evaluations, check tinnitus and hyperacusis severity, and provide aids and/or therapy including counselling and management strategies based on evidence-based science. Why would they waste their time on something imaginary? Scientists don’t study imaginary conditions. Again, there are brain imaging tests that can prove if a person has tinnitus and hyperacusis or not.

It’s all in your head.

When you’re dealing with something invisible like hyper ears, it’s awful when  people make you feel weak, oversensitive, exaggerating, faking, or mentally  unstable. People of all ages have hyper ears. People in the typical hearing, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf communities. 

A reasonable answer is, “Science proves that tinnitus and hyperacusis are from hearing system hyperactivity. You’re right, it is in my head.”