The world was extremely different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Thanks to its extra long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so large that it was afraid of no predator.
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 frustrating and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit strange lately
We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a kind of gradual lowering of the volume knob. Over time, the idea is, we just hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well known, types of hearing loss. Diplacusis is one of the stranger, and also more frustrating, of these hearing problems.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, 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 a single sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand over your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not well. Monaural diplacusis is a result of hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is due to hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two forms
Diplacusis does not affect everyone in the same way. Normally, though, people will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s a sign of this type of diplacusis. So when your grandchildren speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side may sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can cause those sounds to be difficult to understand.
- 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 rather than hearing two separate pitches. This might cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). And understanding speech can become challenging because of this.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
- Off pitch hearing
Having said that, it’s useful to view diplacusis as akin to double vision: Yes, it can develop some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (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). Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with us.
What are the causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But you may experience diplacusis for numerous particular reasons:
- Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your hearing, it’s possible that the same damage has brought about hearing loss, and consequently, diplacusis.
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a normal response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your ability to hear can be impacted by an earwax obstruction. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full obstruction, it can cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be the result of a tumor inside of your ear canal. But remain calm! In most cases they’re benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. This means that if you have diplacusis, it’s likely that something is interfering with your ability to hear. Which means you have a good reason to visit a hearing specialist.
Treatments for diplacusis
Depending on the main cause, there are several possible treatments. If your condition is related to a blockage, like earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that obstruction. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right pair of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from hearing aids. You’ll want to consult us about getting 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.
All of this begins with a hearing exam. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing exam will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). 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 right 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. Conversations 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 grandchildren telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms checked.