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Berard AIT is a 10 hour auditory intervention. There are 20 supervised listening sessions of 30 minutes each, completed over 10 or 12 consecutive days. AIT has many scientific studies. The minimum age recommended is 3 years.

AIT Practitioners are  trained professionals. AIT Session prices in the USA range from about $1,200 to 2,000. Prices will vary internationally by county.

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What is Hyperacusis? Is Hyperacusis helped with Auditory Integration Training (Berard AIT)?

Read More About How Hyperacusis Differs from Hyperacute (Hyper Sensitive) Hearing

Berard AIT is an intervention designed for individuals with hyperacute - hypersensitive hearing and distorted auditory processing. Although the words are used interchangeably, clinincal audiologists typciallyt use the term HYPERACUSIS for diagnostic purposes.

The differences between HYPERACUSIS and HYPERSENTIVE HEARING are:

  • HYPERACUSIS means reduced tolerance to suprathreshold sounds.  Sounds that can be tolerated by others but annoying, uncomfortable, and in some cases painful to others.  The origin is typically considered to be in a central auditory system.

  • HYPERSENSITIVE TO SOUND is thought of as having extra-good hearing thresholds.  Thresholds per se that are in the better than normal ranges versus normal or hearing loss ranges. If it is hearing threshold related, then it is within the cochlea.

  • It is possible to have both HYPERACUSIS and HYPERSENTIVE HEARING.

Please discuss the details and differences in these diagnoses in with your AIT Practitioner or a clinical audiologist.

Excerpts from web article by Dan Malcore:

What is Hyperacusis?

  • Hyperacusis is defined as a "collapsed tolerance to normal environmental sounds". Some people with hyperacusis have such a severe collapsed tolerance to sound, that it may be difficult and sometimes impossible for them to remain in the mainstream of life enduring all the environmental noise which comes with living in the world today. ALL sounds may be perceived as too loud, although the high frequencies are particularly troublesome.
  • Hyperacusis differs from hypersensitive hearing, which is an abnormal growth in the perception of loudness accompanied with hearing loss.
  • With hyperacusis, all sounds are too loud. With hypersensitive hearing, loud noises are uncomfortable.
  • Individuals with hyperacusis often report they perceive sound - even their own voice - as uncomfortably loud and this not only causes tinnitus to increase but may also cause inner ear discomfort or a popping reflex in the ear.
  • The person who has hyperacusis can't simply get up and walk away from noise. Instead, the volume on the whole world seems stuck on high. Everyday noises sound unbearably or painfully loud.
  • With hyperacusis, ears also lose most of their dynamic range. Dynamic range is the ability of the ear to deal with quick shifts in sound loudness. he disorder is often chronic and usually accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) but can occur in Individuals who have little or no measurable hearing loss.
  • Hyperacusis can be devastating to the person's career, relationships, and peace of mind. Finding the proper diagnosis is difficult because few doctors understand hyperacusis.
  • Many Individuals with hyperacusis complain of ear discomfort, a feeling of fullness or burning sensation in the ears.
  • Most individuals with hyperacusis also experience inner ear pain or a feeling of fullness (pressure) in the ears.
  • Hyperacusis makes living in this noisy world difficult and dramatically changes the person's pattern of life. Moving about, traveling, and communicating with others is challenging.
  • Ear protection must be worn in areas that seem too loud. This includes earplugs, industrial earmuffs or both if necessary.
  • Some people with hyperacusis actually try to change the pitch of their own voice to accommodate their ears. This may help their ears but the person can become hoarse in the process.

Hearing Loss and Hyperacusis

  • There is little to no detectable hearing loss with hyperacusis and all tests will confirm an individual's ears to be perfectly normal.
  • For that reason many doctors are dumbfounded and give the individual's hearing a clean bill of health.
  • Some individuals with severe hyperacusis can produce audiograms that show they can hear at minus decibel levels.
  • Because of this, hyperacusis individuals may feel that in addition to having a collapsed tolerance to sound, they can suddenly hear better than those with normal ears.

Tinnitus and Hyperacusis

  • Many with hyperacusis or recruitment suffer from varying degrees of tinnitus (ringing in the ears or head noises). All these conditions can be disabling depending on their severity. For many individuals, the problem is three-fold:

    1. A collapsed tolerance to sound means these individuals have a difficult time listening to sounds which exceed 60 decibels (the sound of someone talking).

    2. A dynamic range is so narrowed these individuals cannot handle quick shifts in noise intensity.

    3. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears or head noise) disrupts even an individual's quiet time and ability to sleep.

What Causes Hyperacusis?

No one knows the answer to solving an individual's these hearing problems, but some clues are beginning to surface.

  • Currently a popular theory is that there has been a breakdown or dysfunction in the efferent portion of the auditory nerve: efferent meaning fibers that originate in the brain which serve to regulate or inhibit incoming sounds.
  • Some believe it involves the facial nerve.
If the cause would be damage to the auditory nerve then why does hyperacusis most often show up in individuals who have no hearing loss?
  • One possibility is that efferent fibers of the auditory nerve are selectively damaged even though the hair cells that allow us to hear pure tones in an audiometry evaluation remain intact.
  • Others believe the central processing unit which processes sound has been altered. Others believe it is a combination of both. These are only theories that have not been proven.

Treatment of Hyperacusis

  • Many individuals with hyperacusis have gotten better over time and some see little to no improvement. Ears heal so slowly, yet time is a great healer.
  • Much improvement depends on the kind of advice received when individuals first come down with a collapsed tolerance to sound.
  • So few doctors know anything about this condition, that individuals rarely get good advice and frequently hearing tests are administered to them which can make an individual's condition even worse (MRI or Brainstem Evoke test).
    Before any hearing tests are performed on an individual who is suspected to have hyperacusis, their Loudness Discomfort Levels (LDL's) should be known.
  • If the sounds generated from the test exceed the Loudness Discomfort Levels (LDL's) of the individual with hyperacusis, their sound tolerance can become further collapsed (worsened).
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