*Physical Review A*, vol. 99, no. 3, 2019.

The discovery of photonic hyperbolic dispersion surfaces in certain van der Waals bonded solids, such as hexagonal boron nitride and bismuth selenide (a topological insulator), offers intriguing possibilities for creating strongly modified light-matter interactions. However, open problems exist in quantifying electromagnetic field fluctuations in these media, complicating typical approaches for modeling photonic characteristics. Here, we address this issue by linking the identifying traits of hyperbolic response to a coupling between longitudinal and transverse fields that cannot occur in isotropic media. This description allows us to formulate a gauge theoretic description of the influence of hyperbolic response on electromagnetic fluctuations without explicitly imposing a characteristic size (model of nonlocality)—leading to formally bounded expressions so long as material absorption is included. We then apply this framework to two exemplary areas: the optical sum rule for modified spontaneous emission enhancement in a general uniaxial medium and thermal electromagnetic field fluctuations in hexagonal boron nitride and bismuth selenide. We find that while the sum rule is satisfied, it does not constrain the enhancement of light-matter interactions in either case. We also show that both hexagonal boron nitride and bismuth selenide possess broad spectral regions where the magnitude of electromagnetic field fluctuations are over 120 times larger, and over 800 times larger along specific angular directions, than they are in vacuum.