Loudness perception may be controlled by a central gain, possibly dependent on the mean level of the acoustic environment. Owing to hearing loss, for instance, a decrease in sensory inputs could increase this central gain and cause an auditory hypersensitivity or hyperacusis. According to this model, individuals with hyperacusis, provided with an enriched acoustic environment specifically designed to compensate for the decrease in sensory inputs, should show an improvement in their hyperacusis. This study showed that such an enriched acoustic environment indeed decreased auditory hypersensitivity: stimuli initially considered as being too loud became comfortable after a few weeks of acoustic stimulation. Therefore, this original approach could provide a solution to the problem of hyperacusis.
aLaboratory of Integrative and Adaptative Neurobiology, University of Provence/St Charles, Pôle 3C, Marseille
bNeurosciences and Sensory System Laboratory, University of Claude Bernard, Lyon, France
Correspondence to Arnaud Jean Noreña, PhD, Université de Provence/CNRS, Centre St Charles, Pôle 3C-Case B, 3, Place Victor Hugo, F-13331 Marseille Cedex 03, France
Tel: +33 0 488 57 68 63; fax: +33 0 488 57 68 42; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 11 April 2007; accepted 13 April 2007