Millions of years ago, the world was much different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis wandered. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it feared no predator.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is known as Diplodocus. When you’re hearing two sounds simultaneously, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis is a condition which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty communicating.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some odd things
Typically, we think of hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But in some cases, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. One of the most fascinating (or, possibly, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.
What is diplacusis?
Exactly what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical name diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will mix the sound from your right and left ear into a single sound. This blended sound is what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? It’s the same with your ears, it’s just that typically, you don’t notice it.
When your brain can’t efficiently integrate 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.
Two forms of diplacusis
Different people are impacted differently by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic forms 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 instead of hearing two different pitches. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause difficulty with regard to understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So when your grandchildren talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side may sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can make those sounds difficult to make out.
Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:
- Off timing hearing
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Off pitch hearing
That said, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as similar to double vision: Yes, it can produce 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 cases, 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 make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
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 some specific reasons why you may develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: In some instances, an earwax blockage can impede your hearing. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete obstruction, it can cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation, while a standard response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced hearing loss as a result of noise damage, it’s possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! They’re normally benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s obvious that there are many of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. Which means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s a good bet something is impeding your ability to hear. Which means you have a good reason to visit a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. However, diplacusis is often due to irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. It’s essential to get the proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want 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.
All of this begins with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to determine what kind 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 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 detected.
Hearing well is more fun than not
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the correct treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or something else. 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 grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms checked.