The world was extremely different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Diplacusis was so large, thanks to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is known as Diplodocus. 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 leading to difficulty with communication.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some odd things
We’re accustomed to thinking of hearing loss as a sort of progressive lowering of the volume knob. According to this idea, over time, 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 conditions.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will blend the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing occurs with your eyes. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t effectively 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 due to hearing loss in both.
Two types of diplacusis
Diplacusis doesn’t impact everybody in the same way. However, there are typically two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This form of diplacusis occurs when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. 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 as a result.
- Diplacusis echoica: This happens when the pitch is mostly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is out of whack. This may cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause challenges in terms of understanding speech.
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Off timing hearing
- Phantom echoes
- Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
Having said that, it’s helpful to view diplacusis as similar to double vision: Yes, it can develop some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (Essentially, it’s the effect, 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 causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up very well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: In some cases, an earwax blockage can interfere with your hearing. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete blockage, it can lead to diplacusis.
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation, while a standard response, can effect the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Noise-induced 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 the result of a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! In most cases they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same typical causes. This means that if you have diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. So you should absolutely come in and see us.
How is diplacusis treated?
Depending on the main cause, there are several possible treatments. If your condition is related to an obstruction, such as earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. In these situations, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be equalized with the right pair of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will gradually fade when you take advantage of hearing aids. You’ll want to speak with us about getting the right settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant might be the only way of managing diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
A hearing exam is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Think about it this way: whatever type of hearing loss is the cause of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to establish that (maybe you just think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). Modern hearing tests are very sensitive, and good at finding discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear well
Getting the proper 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. It will be easier to talk to people. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandchildren 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 have your diplacusis symptoms assessed.