Acoustic Shock Disorder

What is Acoustic Shock Disorder?

Very regularly we see people who, after exposure to sudden and loud noise, are bothered by tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing loss, pressure in the ear, aversion and fear of sounds, depression, etc.. However, a hearing test does not show signs of hearing damage or a noise trauma. This is characteristic of an "Acoustic Shock". Usually the symptoms disappear quite quickly, but when the symptoms persist, they speak of an Acoustic Shock Disorder (ASD).

The mechanism behind ASD is probably a combination of sustained load on the ear and excessive stress. The stress network in the brain (e.g. amygdala, parahippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, frontal cortex, etc.) can go into 'overdrive' through prolonged stress, causing muscles of the neck, jaws and shoulders to stretch. When exposed to a sound, especially if it occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, the muscles that are used during the pricking of the ears would cramp (Tensor Tympani syndrome).

How can Acoustic Shock Disorder be treated?

A qEEG and a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) will be taken to determine which brain regions and functional brain networks are activated and whether there is hyperactivation of the stress network.

With TDCS, TMS, Neurofeedback, etc. the effect of over-stimulated brain areas are affected. A qEEG can help us determine which neuromodulation technique could have the most effect.

The tension of specific locations on the eardrum can also be adjusted by placing a membrane (patch) on the eardrum or a specific type of eardrum tube. The correct location of the membrane or the tube on the eardrum is very important but otherwise this is a simple and painless treatment.