Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its really 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. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition known as diplacusis.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some strange things
We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a sort of gradual decreasing of the volume knob. According to this notion, over time, we simply hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well known, forms of hearing loss. One of the most interesting (or, perhaps, frustrating) such presentations 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 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. Usually, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so significantly that your brain can no longer combine them, at least not well. You can experience diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two kinds
Different individuals are impacted differently by diplacuses. Normally, though, individuals will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear don’t match it’s an indicator of this form of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand as a result.
- Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the result. And understanding speech can become difficult as a result.
The symptoms of diplacusis can include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
- Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
The condition of double vision might be a useful comparison: Yes, it can develop some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is probably a symptom of hearing loss. So your best course of action would be to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your hearing, it’s feasible that the same damage has led to hearing loss, and as a result, diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation, while a typical response, can effect the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax obstruction. That earwax blockage can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be the result of a tumor in your ear canal. Don’t panic! They’re usually benign. But you should still talk to us about it.
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same typical causes. Meaning that you most likely have some amount of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. Which means you have a good reason to visit a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If your condition is caused by an obstruction, such as earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that obstruction. However, diplacusis is often brought on by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the correct pair of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from hearing aids. It’s essential to get the proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant may be the only way of managing diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
All of this starts with a hearing exam. Here’s how you can think about it: whatever kind of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to identify that (maybe you just think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). We have very sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
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. It will be easier to talk to people. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
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 checked.