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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 R20.3
ICD-9-CM 782.0
DiseasesDB 30788
MeSH D006941

Hyperesthesia (or hyperaesthesia) is a condition that involves an abnormal increase in sensitivity to stimuli of the sense. "When a non-noxious stimulus causes the sensation of pain the area will be termed hyperaesthetic".[1] Stimuli of the senses can include sound that one hears, foods that one tastes, textures that one feels, and so forth. Increased touch sensitivity is referred to as "tactile hyperesthesia", and increased sound sensitivity is called "auditory hyperesthesia". Tactile hyperesthesia may be a common symptom of many neurologic disorders such as herpes zoster, peripheral neuropathy and radiculopathies. In 1979, and then in 1994, Merskey, Bogduk, Noordenbos, Devor and others (a subcommittee of International Association for the Study of Pain) proposed, instead of hyperaestheia, the concept of allodynia, meaning "other pain", defined as a pain resulting from a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain.[2]

In psychology, Jeanne Siaud-Facchin uses the term by defining it as an "exacerbation des sens"[3]:37 that characterizes Gifted children (and adults): for them, the sensory informations reach the brain much more faster than the average, and the informations are processed in a significantly shorter time.

In animals[edit]

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome is an uncommon but recognized condition in cats, particularly Siamese, Burmese, Himalayan, and Abyssinian cats. It can affect cats of all ages, though it is most prevalent in mature animals. The disease can be somewhat difficult to detect as it is characterized by brief bursts of abnormal behavior, lasting around a minute or two.[4] It is also a symptom in dogs that have canine distemper disease (CD) caused by canine distemper virus (CDV).


  1. ^ Noordenbos, W. (1959). PAIN Problems pertaining to the transmission of nerve impulses which give rise to pain. Amsterdam : Elsevier
  2. ^ Merskey & Bogduk (Eds.) Classification of Chronic Pain. Seattle: IASP Task Force on Taxonomy, 1994
  3. ^ Siaud-Facchin, Jeanne (2002). Odile Jacob, ed. L'enfant surdoué (in French). Paris. p. 338. 
  4. ^ "Hyperesthesia Syndrome". Cornell Feline Health Center. Retrieved April 11, 2014.