The world was rather different millions of years ago. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. 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 known as Diplodocus. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing leading to difficulty communicating.
Perhaps your hearing has been a little weird lately
Usually, we regard hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. According to this idea, over time, we just hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, types of hearing loss. Diplacusis is one of the weirder, and also more frustrating, of these hearing problems.
What is diplacusis?
So, what’s diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Typically, your brain gets information from the right ear and information from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into one sound. This combined sound is 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 won’t even notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so significantly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not very well. Monaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two types
Different people 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 are off it’s an indicator of this form of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. Maybe your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. This can make those sounds hard to make out.
- Diplacusis echoica: This happens when the pitch is mostly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. Artifacts like echoes can be the outcome. 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 sounds off (in pitch).
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision might be a helpful comparison: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can produce some of its own symptoms. (In other words, it’s the effect, not the cause.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is nearly always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss due to noise damage, it’s feasible that it could cause 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 standard response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be impacted by an earwax obstruction. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be caused by a tumor inside of your ear canal. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s obvious that there are many of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. Which 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.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right set of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will gradually fade when you benefit from hearing aids. It’s important to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us help you with that.
- 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 exam is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Here’s how you can think about it: whatever kind of hearing loss is the cause of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to determine that (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). Modern hearing assessments are very sensitive, and good at detecting discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
Getting the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or something else, means you’ll be more able to participate in your daily life. Talking with others will be easier. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandchildren tell you all about what a Diplodocus is, and you (hopefully) won’t have any diplacusis to impede you.
If you believe you have diplacusis and want to get it checked, call today for an appointment.