OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of reduced sound tolerance (hyperacusis) in a UK population of 11-year-old children and examine the association of early life and auditory risk factors with report of hyperacusis.
DESIGN: A prospective UK population-based study.
STUDY SAMPLE: A total of 7097 eleven-year-old children within the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children (ALSPAC) were asked about sound tolerance; hearing and middle-ear function was measured using audiometry, otoacoustic emissions, and tympanometry. Information on neonatal risk factors and socioeconomic factors were obtained through parental questionnaires.
RESULTS: 3.7% (95% CI 3.25, 4.14) children reported hyperacusis. Hyperacusis report was less likely in females (adj OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.49, 0.85), and was more likely with higher maternal education level (adj OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.08, 2.72) and with readmission to hospital in first four weeks (adj OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.20, 3.25). Report of hyperacusis was associated with larger amplitude otoacoustic emissions but with no other auditory factors.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of hyperacusis in the population of 11-year-old UK children is estimated to be 3.7%. It is more common in boys.