Millions of years ago, the world was much different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it feared no predator.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. When you’re hearing two sounds simultaneously, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing leading to difficulty communicating.
Perhaps your hearing has been a little weird lately
Usually, 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 there are some other, not so well recognized, types of hearing loss. Diplacusis is one of the stranger, and also more frustrating, of these hearing problems.
What is diplacusis?
Exactly what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Usually, 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. It’s the same with your ears, it’s just that usually, you don’t notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not very well. Monaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two forms
Diplacusis does not impact everyone in the same way. However, there are typically two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: This happens when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. Artifacts like echoes can be the result. 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 a sign of this type of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. Maybe your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. This can make those sounds difficult to understand.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis can include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Off pitch hearing
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision might be a helpful comparison: It’s normally a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (It’s the effect, essentially, 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 strategy would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What are the causes diplacusis?
In a very basic sense (and maybe not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis line up quite well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: In some cases, an earwax blockage can impede your hearing. That earwax obstruction can lead to 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 common immune response, but it can influence how sound waves move through your inner ear (and therefore your brain).
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your hearing, it’s possible that the same damage has resulted in hearing loss, and as a result, diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare instances, be caused by a tumor inside of your ear canal. Don’t panic! They’re usually benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s obvious that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. 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 visit a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. But irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. 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 likely fade. You’ll want to talk to us about finding the correct settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: In circumstances where the hearing loss at the root of diplacusis is profound, a cochlear implant might be the only way to provide relief from the symptoms.
All of this begins with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: whatever kind of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to identify that (perhaps you simply think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). Modern hearing tests are really sensitive, and good at finding discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
Getting the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or some other treatment option, means you’ll be more able to participate in your daily life. It will be easier to carry on conversations. It will be easier to stay in tune with your family.
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 impede you.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms checked.