"It's like the opposite of deafness," says writer Joyce Cohen when asked to describe the condition known as hyperacusis. "Instead of sounds sounding softer, it's that... sounds are louder and painful."
Cohen recently wrote about hyperacusis for Buzzfeed. It's a condition that she herself has been living with for about 6 years, and in her piece, she describes how it has affected her quality of life. "It felt like my ears were being filled with burning acid," she writes. "On a scale of severity from 1 to 10, I'd give the pain a 9, maybe a 9.5." Although her condition has since improved, Cohen still takes special care to protect her ears, and avoids environments that could cause her pain.
Her piece also profiles several other people who have experienced hyperacusis -- including three who took their own lives.
"We are so much in the dark ages about this, that it's hard to think that there's going to be any kind of treatment or cure in any sort of reasonable time frame," she tells us. "The situation is very grim."