Did you know that a reduced tolerance for loud sounds is actually a sign of hearing loss?  Most people would think that those with hearing loss need sounds to be loud in order to hear them.   Therefore, they should be able to tolerate very loud sounds, right?  In fact, individuals with normal hearing can generally tolerate loud sounds better than individuals with hearing loss.  A loud sound for someone with normal hearing may be perceived as very loud and possibly painful for somebody with hearing loss.  This phenomenon is known as recruitment.  The true definition of recruitment is the abnormal growth of loudness.  I once heard a lady state that she felt her hearing was quite good, and in fact “so good that I don’t like loud sounds.  Loud sounds hurt my ears.”  The hearing evaluation revealed that she did indeed have hearing loss, and I explained to her why her intolerance to loud sounds was actually a symptom of hearing loss.