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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 49163
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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My friend had an unspecific virus a couple of years ago

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Hi, my friend had an unspecific virus a couple of years ago and it seems to have left her with an extreme startle reaction to sudden or certain sounds like dogs barking or sharp metallic noises. The reaction she has is quite dramatic with slurred speech, impaired mobility, and it causes her to become very emotional. It's worse when she's in more stressful situations and she acknowledges that fact but she can be in the garden relaxing, a jet fighter flies over and the reaction is immediate almost before she's had time to think about it. She's had some Neuro tests which are clear and saw an Encephalitis specialist who says she'd had a virus, but has suggested no further action. She can only go out in noise cancelling headphones and is gradually becoming more withdrawn where she used to be very outgoing. We've read about a condition called hyperaccussis and wondered if this could be a plausible explanation and whether she is justified asking her GP for an ENT referral? We wondered if she needs a specific noise rehab programme?? I fear in the past her overly emotional reaction has been misinterpreted as purely panic, and while there is an element if that which is not denied, she has pushed herself to go out and try and do things more than most people would. I hope you can suggest a way forwards for her.
Carol Parry
This is Dr. David

it sounds like she has developed a severe psychological reaction to loud sounds and her symptoms sound more severe than typical hyperaccussis

she needs to consult with a psychiatrist or psychologist to work on condition and biofeedback techniques to help relax her and condition her away from these extreme reactions to loud sounds.

she might benefit from biofeedback therapy or congitive behavioral therapy from a psychologist and regular psychotherapy sessions.

I hope she can get into to see a psychotherapist.

her GP can refer her to one

let me know if you have questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I've suggested some simple ideas to help start her along this path ( I used to be a physio so I have some basic knowledge about desensitising etc ). She's had a lot of non specific CBT but they keep wanting to focus on a past abusive relationship which she's quite happy she's dealt with rather than give her soecific noise related tasks so I suppose my question would be then would a therapist who is attached to an ENT department have more skills and specific techniques to deal with it??
yes, perhaps a psychotherapist at a university setting or with prior ENT audiology experience could possibly help her more

it might take her time to find the right therapist for her.

I hope she can find one.

you might want to go with her to her next GP appointment with her if she will let you to talk to the GP to try to find her a better therapist for her.

best of luck to you and her

let me know if you have other questions.

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