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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 


I have what might be considered an unusual form of hyperacusis? I’m not sure. It is episodic. I’ve had it about 10-12 times in the last 10 years. It is always triggered by exposure to an unexpected loud sound. (motorcycle, firework, truck dropping lift gate, etc.)

The next day I will awaken with extreme sound sensitivity, a loud unbearable humming, and some hearing loss. Each episode has lasted longer than previous one (4 hours all the way to 2 months). The later ones were excruciating and I was completely unable to leave the house for months. They’ve been a living hell.

I have an unconventional doctor and a few years ago, him and I both came up with the possibility of it being caused by herpes zoster (shingles) or herpes simplex virus in my auditory nerve. (I have had Lyme Disease, have immune issues and have had shingles multiple times) Since then I’ve been on Valacyclovir antiviral. I think it helps, but I avoid loud sounds, haven’t had an episode, but have no way of knowing if I would unless I have a bad noise exposure and see what happens.

Fast forward to now. I have an unusual intestinal injury, and the specialist wants me to get a special type of MRI. It would involve me being in the tube like a regular MRI. I haven’t had an MRI since before the first hyperacusis episode and I am severely worried about triggering another one from the MRI. If I did I don’t think I could handle it in the condition I’m in now.

Does anyone have experience getting an MRI with hyperacusis? Would earplugs plus earmuffs really stop a large majority (80+%) of the sound? The front page of this site says “you will be fine with earplugs” but I am really concerned even if I have earplugs plus earmuffs on.

Any insights appreciated. Sorry for the long post



Posts: 695
Reply with quote  #2 

I had 2 mri's with hyperacusis, with no lasting ill effects.  Ear plugs, muffs, wrapped my head with towels.

Some other people on this board have reported very bad effects though.

So, you are right to be cautious.  I would avoid it if possible.  I can't give you a certain answer though, it obviously varies.

There are some mri's now that are "supposedly" a lot quieter.  I have not personally seen one before.


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #3 

Hi comment doesn’t involve MRI, as I refused to have one due to the noise level, but I want to touch on another subject you mentioned. I have Herpes Zoster too and treat it with Valacyclovir, but only upon the start of an outbreak. My question is, do you take the Valacyclovir every day?  You mentioned it you mean helps with Hyperacusis or just the frequency of shingles outbreaks?  I’m asking because I’ve wondered if I should take it every day. I don’t see how it could lessen the Hyperacusis at this point. 

Thank you in advance for your reply. 


Posts: 174
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Drew,

I’ve had three MRIs, including 2 brain MRIs, while having quite severe hyperacusis and had no issues with it. No setback at all. Many can understandably not tolerate MRIs because of the noise level, even with earplugs, as they can get upwards of 120 dB at peak with conventional 3T units, which I would avoid personally. I think I was able to tolerate my scans because I had them done on a Toshiba (now Canon) Titan Vantage unit with Zen Piantissimo technology, which only peaks at 85dB. I wore 33 dB Mack’s (the “Mack daddy”) earplugs and took a dose of valium before each scan session. I would highly recommend you seek out imaging centers with these particular units. They are the quietest out there and do not compromise one iota in image quality. I’d steer clear of the GE silent scan units, they are only quiet on several sequences and loud on the rest.

Wishing you the best,

Posts: 133
Reply with quote  #5 
I started having MRi's maybe 18 years ago before they were aware that you had to wear muffs and earplugs and all. I got badly re-injured. I learned to take my Thunder 29's (now I'm aging myself) to every MRI and also my own earplugs. I have no problem at all. Some things that are scanned won't allow you to wear muffs but I take my own earplugs so I can select the rating but also there is a special way you can put them in. They do hurry you along so learn ahead of time how to put them in securely. 


Jane Parks-McKay
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