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AIT requires 10 hours of sound therapy, with 20 sessions of 30 minutes each, done 2 times daily over 10 consecutive days.  This listening therapy helps to correct hyperacute hearing,  tinnitus and other auditory challenges.

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Sound Sensitivity:
A Summary of Probable Causes of Hypersensitivity to Sound (Hyper acute Hearing)

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A Summary of Probable Causes of Hypersensitivity to Sound (Hyper acute Hearing)

The causes of auditory sensitivity can be classified into two categories: biochemical (which includes nutritional deficiency and drug side-effects) and physiological.

  • It is well established that nutritional effects may result in hypersensitive hearing.
  • Many individuals who are deficient in magnesium suffer from sound sensitivity, and they often experience an improvement after receiving magnesium supplements. According to the Autism Research Review International (1990, Vol. 4, No. 4), 20 milligrams per each 10 pounds of body weight per day, is an appropriate amount of magnesium. Improvement would occur within a few days if the cause of the sensitivity is a magnesium deficiency.
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  • Some medications have ototoxic side-effects that may result in auditory hypersensitivity and/or other auditory system problems such as tinnitus and vestibular dysfunction.
    • Dr. Guy Berard cautions against the use of antibiotics in the aminoglycocide family, including erythromycin, gentamicin, garamycin, neomycin, tobramycin, etc.
    • Other medications with known ototoxic side effects include: Advil, aspirin (salicyclates), Benadryl, Beta blockers, Desipramine HCI (Norpramin), Empirin, Imipramine (Tofranil), Motrin (ibuprofen), Naltrexone (Trexan), Sel-dane, Tavist, and Tegretol. Author Elaine Suss reports in her book, When the Hearing Becomes Hard, that diuretics are also known for ototoxicity and must be used with caution.
  • Other biochemical causes include changes in the system due to stress and anxiety.
  • Many people have reported increased auditory hypersensitivity during periods of stress and anxiety, i.e., exam week at college.
  • Other sensory perceptions, such as tactile, taste or smell, may also be heightened. This may be related to stress-induced biochemical changes. Once the stress-related experience is over, the hypersensitivity usually decreases. Nutritional stress formulas may also be helpful.
  • The sensory system may also be over aroused by changes in the person's biochemistry, including increases in toxins produced by an overgrowth of yeast and fungus, and possibly exposures to other toxins (e.g., heavy metals, toxic chemicals).
  • Auditory hypersensitivity (hyperacute hearing) may escalate during this exposure and may be restored to more normal levels when the toxins  are removed. Other techniques, such as brushing therapy, joint compression and deep pressure, can sometimes be used to help calm the nervous system while seeking appropriate treatment for the toxins.
  • Physiological causes may include:
    • damage to the auditory system through exposure to loud noise,
    • traumas such as whiplash,
    • abnormalities in function of the brainstem or higher cortical areas.
    • A study by Deborah Woodward of Woodward Audiology in McLeansville, NC revealed that in children with autism, the binaural tolerance to speech noise, prior to Auditory Integration Training, was 9 to 11 dBHTL less than the monaural tolerance level (see The Sound Connection, 1994, Vol. 2, No. 2). This may indicate abnormal amplification in the brainstem or lack of bilateral inhibition.
    • A study by Collett et al., published in The Lancet (1993, Vol. 342, pages 923-924), produced results that may indicate an alteration in the functioning of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) bundle which is located in the brainstem, and may explain sound sensitivity in autistic people.
  • There is also speculation about a possible link between hypersensitive hearing and the amygdala, located in the limbic system of the brain. Dr. Margaret Bauman's research found that some neurons in the amygdala are abnormal. There are auditory pathways to the amygdala responsible for fear conditioning to sounds. It is possible that the abnormal functioning in the amygdala plays a role in the development of a dysfunctional fear response to sounds. Perhaps Auditory Integration Training stimulates the amygdala in some way that reduces this fear.

It is clear that there are many possible causes of hypersensitive hearing. One must learn about these causes and try to determine what might be the cause for a particular individual. If that can be determined, an appropriate intervention can be selected. When certain things that are possible to control have been ruled out, Auditory Integration Training may be an appropriate intervention to use for decreasing sound sensitivity.

This article appeared in The Sound Connection, a quarterly newsletter of the Society for Auditory Intervention Techniques Original document.

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