Millions of years ago, the world was much different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its extra long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it was afraid of no predator.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds instead of one.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty communicating.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit strange lately
Usually, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming 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 peculiar ways. One of the most fascinating (or, perhaps, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will combine the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. This blended sound is 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 typically, you never notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not well. You can develop diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Two kinds of diplacusis
Different individuals are affected differently by diplacuses. Usually, though, individuals will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This form of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So when your grandkids speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Maybe your right ear thinks the sound is low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand consequently.
- 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 separate pitches. This might cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause difficulty with regard to understanding speech.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Hearing that sounds off (in timing).
- Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
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 usually itself a symptom of something else. (Essentially, 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 causes diplacusis?
In a very basic sense (and maybe not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss caused by noise damage, it’s possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even just plain old allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This swelling, while a normal response, can effect the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: In some instances, an earwax obstruction can hinder your ability to hear. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full obstruction, it can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some extremely rare instances, tumors in your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. Don’t panic! They’re normally benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should talk to your hearing specialist about!
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same typical causes. Meaning that you probably have some level of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. So you should absolutely come in and see us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If your condition is related to a blockage, such as earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that obstruction. However, diplacusis is often brought on by irreversible 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 fade. You’ll want to consult us about finding the right 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 get relief from the symptoms.
A hearing test is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Here’s how you can think about it: whatever type of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to establish that (maybe you simply think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). We have really sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or some other treatment. It will be easier to talk to people. It will be easier to stay in tune with your family.
So there will be no diplacusis symptoms getting in the way of your ability to hear your grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
If you think you have diplacusis and want to have it checked, call today for an appointment.