The world was rather different millions of years ago. 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. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing causing difficulty communicating.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some odd things
We’re used to thinking of hearing loss as a sort of progressive lowering of the volume knob. Over time, the idea is, we just hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some peculiar ways. Diplacusis is one of the weirder, and also more frustrating, of these hearing problems.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain will blend the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. This combined sound is 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. Normally, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t successfully integrate the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. You can experience diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two forms
Diplacusis does not impact everyone in the same way. However, there are typically two basic types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s a sign of this form of diplacusis. So when your grandchildren speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side may sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can cause those sounds to be hard to understand.
- Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is out of whack. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause challenges with regard to understanding speech.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Off timing hearing
- Off pitch hearing
Having said that, it’s useful to view diplacusis as akin to double vision: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (In other words, 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). So your best course of action would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What are the causes diplacusis?
In a very general sense (and perhaps not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align quite well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few specific reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even just plain old allergies can cause your ear canal to become inflamed. This swelling, while a normal response, can effect the way sound travels through your inner ear and to 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: In some cases, an earwax obstruction can interfere with your ability to hear. Whether that earwax forms a partial or complete blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some extremely rare situations, tumors inside your ear canal can result in diplacusis. Don’t panic! They’re normally benign. But you should still talk to us about it.
It’s obvious that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you most likely have some level of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. Which means it’s a good idea to see a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
Depending on the root cause, there are several possible treatments. If your condition is the result of a blockage, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is frequently brought on by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The correct set of hearing aids can neutralize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. It’s important to get the right settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: In circumstances where the hearing loss at the root of diplacusis is profound, a cochlear implant may be the only way to get relief from the symptoms.
A hearing test 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 determine that (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). We have extremely sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be detected.
Hearing well is more fun than not
Getting the right treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or something else, means you’ll be more capable of participating in your daily life. Conversations will be easier. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandkids tell you all about what a Diplodocus is, and you (hopefully) won’t have any diplacusis to get in the way.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms assessed.