Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so big, thanks to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Diplacusis is a hearing condition that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some odd things
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. Over time, the idea is, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. One of the most interesting (or, perhaps, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what’s diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical name that means, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and combines them harmoniously into one sound. This blended sound is what you hear. The same thing happens with your eyes. You will see slightly different images if you put your hand over each eye one at a time. Your ears are the same, it’s just that usually, you never notice it.
When your brain can’t successfully merge the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. Monaural diplacusis is a result of hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two types
Diplacusis does not affect everyone in the same way. However, there are usually two basic types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This form of diplacusis occurs when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear are hearing sound as two different pitches. So when your grandkids speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Maybe your right ear thinks the sound is low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand as a result.
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain gets the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two separate pitches. This could cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound like echoes). And understanding speech can become challenging because of this.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Off timing hearing
- Off pitch hearing
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
The condition of double vision could be a useful comparison: It’s normally a symptom of something else, but it can produce some of its own symptoms. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is nearly always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). So your best course of action would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What are the causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you may develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the result of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling is a normal immune reaction, but it can impact the way sound waves travel into your inner ear (and subsequently your brain).
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss as a result of noise damage, it’s possible that it could trigger diplacusis.
- Earwax: In some instances, an earwax obstruction can interfere with your ability to hear. That earwax blockage can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some very rare circumstances, tumors in your ear canal can result in diplacusis. But remain calm! In most instances they’re benign. But you still should consult with us about it.
It’s clear that there are many of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. This means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. Which means it’s a good idea to see a hearing specialist.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis vary based on the underlying cause. If your condition is related to an obstruction, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is often due to irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. In these cases, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The right set of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. You’ll want to consult us about finding the correct settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: In cases where the hearing loss at the root of diplacusis is profound, a cochlear implant might be the only way to get relief from the symptoms.
All of this begins with a hearing exam. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing exam will be able to determine what type of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). Modern hearing tests are quite sensitive, and good at finding inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or some other treatment. Talking with others will be easier. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
So there will be no diplacusis symptoms interfering with your ability to hear your grandchildren telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms assessed.