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Hyperacusis in chronic pain: neural interactions between the auditory and nociceptive systems

Suhnan, A., Finch, P.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2717-054X and Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 (2017) Hyperacusis in chronic pain: neural interactions between the auditory and nociceptive systems. International Journal of Audiology, 56 (11). pp. 801-809.

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Objective: Sensory disturbances are common in chronic pain patients. Hyperacusis can be an especially debilitating experience. Here, we review published work on how the auditory and nociceptive systems might interact in chronic pain syndromes to produce pain-hyperacusis.

Design: Literature review.

Study sample: The PubMed and Scopus databases were searched for relevant articles published between 2000 and 2017 using the primary search terms “hyperacusis”/“hyperacousis” and “pain”. Ten papers were found using this strategy. Supplementary sources were identified by browsing textbooks and the reference lists of identified articles.

Results: The importance of central mechanisms in pain-hyperacusis was highlighted in the 10 selected papers. Hyperacusis is a significant but under-recognised symptom in conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome and fibromyalgia, and an integral feature of migraine.

Conclusions: Nociceptive circuits become hypersensitive in acute and chronic pain; this sensitivity spreads from the periphery to spinal neurons and higher centres in the brain, leading to hyperalgesia or spontaneous pain even in the absence of peripheral nociceptive input. This “central sensitisation” may alter activity at sensory convergence points in the thalamus and brainstem centres such as the locus coeruleus, and give rise to hyperacusis in certain pain syndromes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd
Copyright: © 2017 British Society of Audiology, International Society of Audiology, and Nordic Audiological Society
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