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. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty with communication.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some strange things
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. Over time, the story goes, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. Diplacusis is one of the weirder, and also more frustrating, of these hearing conditions.
What is diplacusis?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical name that means, 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 occurs with your eyes. If you put a hand over your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? It’s the same with your ears, it’s just that usually, you never notice it.
When your brain can’t effectively integrate the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. 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
Different individuals are affected in different ways by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic types of diplacusis:
- 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 grandchildren talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side may 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. This could cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). And understanding speech can become difficult because of this.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Off pitch hearing
- Phantom echoes
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision may be a helpful comparison: It’s normally a symptom of something else, but it can produce 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. Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with us.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But you may experience diplacusis for a number of 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 trigger diplacusis.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even normal allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This inflammation is a normal immune reaction, but it can impact how sound waves move through your inner ear (and therefore your brain).
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! 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 common causes. Which means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. Which means it’s a good idea to see a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis vary based on the underlying cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently 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. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely fade. You’ll want to talk to us about finding the right 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 to the bottom of the problem. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing assessment will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (perhaps you just 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 discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
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.
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 have your diplacusis symptoms checked.