Millions of years ago, the world was quite a bit different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Diplacusis was so big, 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 condition that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is a condition which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Perhaps your hearing has been a little weird lately
Usually, we think of hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. Over time, the story goes, 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 conditions.
What is diplacusis?
So, what’s 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 a single sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. You will see slightly different images if you put your hand over each eye one at a time. Usually, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so significantly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not very 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 affect everyone in the same way. However, there are usually two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is out of whack. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. And understanding speech can become difficult as a result.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type of diplacusis occurs 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 hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand as a result.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Phantom echoes
- Hearing that sounds off (in timing).
- Hearing that sounds off (in pitch).
That said, it’s useful 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.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is probably a symptom of hearing loss. So your best strategy would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few specific reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: In some cases, an earwax obstruction can impede your hearing. That earwax obstruction can trigger diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling is a typical immune reaction, but it can influence the way sound waves move through your inner ear (and therefore your brain).
- Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced hearing loss due to noise damage, it’s possible that it could trigger diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare instances, be caused by a tumor inside of your ear canal. Don’t panic! In most cases they’re benign. Still, 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. This means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. So you should definitely come in and see us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis vary based on the underlying cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently the cause. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The correct pair of hearing aids can neutralize how your ears hear again. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from hearing aids. It’s essential to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: In cases where the hearing loss at the root of diplacusis is profound, a cochlear implant may be the only way to provide relief from the symptoms.
A hearing test is the first step to getting it all figured out. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to identify what type of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you may just think stuff sounds weird these days). We have really sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
Getting the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or some other treatment option, means you’ll be more capable of participating in your daily life. Talking with others will be easier. 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.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms assessed.