The world was very different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis wandered. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so large that it was afraid of no predator.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is called Diplodocus. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis is a condition which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some unusual things
Usually, 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. Diplacusis is one of the stranger, and also more frustrating, of these hearing conditions.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will combine the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing occurs with your eyes. You will see slightly different images if you cover each eye one at a time. Your ears are the same, it’s just that typically, 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. You can develop diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplicusis comes in two types
Diplacusis does not impact everyone in the same way. Usually, though, people will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other rather than hearing two separate pitches. This may cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound like echoes). This can also cause difficulty in terms of understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear don’t match it’s an indicator of this type of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when somebody speaks with you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand consequently.
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Phantom echoes
- Off pitch hearing
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision could be a helpful comparison: Yes, it can develop some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (Essentially, it’s the effect, not the cause.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is almost always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with a hearing specialist.
What causes diplacusis?
In a very general sense (and probably not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis line up rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation is a typical immune response, but it can impact how 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 feasible that it could cause diplacusis.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete blockage, it can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some extremely rare circumstances, tumors in your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. But remain calm! They’re usually benign. But you still should consult with us about it.
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same typical causes. Meaning that you probably have some degree of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. Which means you have a good reason to see a hearing specialist.
Treatments for diplacusis
Depending on the main cause, there are a few possible treatments. If your condition is related to an obstruction, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that blockage. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be equalized with the right pair of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. It’s important to get the proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant may be the only way of dealing with diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
A hearing exam is the first step to getting it all figured out. Think about it this way: whatever kind of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to establish that (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think stuff sounds weird these days). We have really sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Life is more fun when you can hear well
Getting the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or some other treatment option, means you’ll be more capable of participating in your daily life. It will be easier to talk to people. It will be easier to stay in tune with your family.
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 have your diplacusis symptoms checked.