Millions of years ago, the world was much different. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so large, due to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is called Diplodocus. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some strange things
Typically, we think of hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. According to this notion, over time, we just 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 problems.
What is diplacusis?
Exactly what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical name diplacusis is basically “double hearing”. Typically, your brain will blend the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing happens 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 usually, you never notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not well. You can develop diplacusis as a result of hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two types
Diplacusis doesn’t impact everyone in the same way. Normally, though, people will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will sound off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two separate pitches. This might cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause challenges in terms of understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This kind of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear are hearing sound as two different pitches. So when your grandkids speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Perhaps your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand consequently.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Off pitch hearing
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision could be a useful comparison: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these circumstances, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with us.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But you may develop diplacusis for several specific reasons:
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss as a result of noise damage, it’s possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- Earwax: In some instances, an earwax blockage can impede your ability to hear. Whether that earwax causes a partial or full obstruction, it can cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even normal allergies can cause your ear canal to become inflamed. This inflammation is a typical immune reaction, but it can impact how sound waves travel into your inner ear (and subsequently your brain).
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But remain calm! They’re usually benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s clear that there are many of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you probably have some degree of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. Which means it’s a good idea to visit a hearing specialist.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis vary based on the root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. However, diplacusis is frequently caused by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The correct pair of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely disappear. You’ll want to speak with us about finding the correct settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant may be the only way of managing diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
A hearing test is the first step to getting it all figured out. Think about it this way: whatever type of hearing loss is the cause of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to determine that (maybe you simply think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). Modern hearing assessments are quite sensitive, and good at detecting inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear well
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the correct treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or some other treatment. Talking with others 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 impede you.
If you think you have diplacusis and want to get it checked, call today for an appointment.