Uncomfortable loudness levels among children and adolescents seeking help for tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of hyperacusis and severe hyperacusis among children and adolescents seen at an audiology outpatient tinnitus and hyperacusis service. DESIGN: This was a retrospective study. Hyperacusis was considered as present if the average uncomfortable loudness level (ULL) at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8 kHz for the ear with the lower average ULL, which is denoted as ULLmin, was ≤77 dB HL. Severe hyperacusis was considered as present if the ULL was 30 dB HL or less for at least one of the measured frequencies for at least one ear. STUDY SAMPLE: There were 62 young patients with an average age of 12 years (SD = 4.1 years, range 4-18 years). RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of patients had hyperacusis and 17% had severe hyperacusis. On average, ULLs at 8 kHz were 9.3 dB lower than ULLs at 0.25 kHz. For 33% of patients, ULLs were at least 20 dB lower at 8 than at 0.25 kHz. CONCLUSIONS: Among children and adolescents seen at an audiology outpatient clinic for tinnitus and hyperacusis, hyperacusis diagnosed on the basis of ULLs is very prevalent and it is often characterised by lower ULLs at 8 than at 0.25 kHz.