Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. 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. 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 bit strange lately
Usually, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some peculiar ways. 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, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain will combine the sound from your right and left ear into one sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you put a hand on your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Your ears are the same, it’s just that typically, you don’t notice it.
When your brain can’t efficiently merge the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. Monaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is due to hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two kinds
Different people are affected in different ways by diplacuses. Normally, though, individuals will experience one of the following two forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two different pitches. This may cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound like echoes). And understanding speech can become challenging because of this.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s an indication of this form of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone talks to you. Perhaps your right ear thinks the sound is low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. This can cause those sounds to be hard to make out.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
- Off pitch hearing
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
Having said that, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as akin to double vision: 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.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is nearly always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). So your best strategy would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What are the causes diplacusis?
In a very general sense (and maybe not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But you may develop diplacusis for a number of particular reasons:
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the consequence of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation is a normal immune reaction, but it can impact the way sound waves move through your inner ear (and subsequently your brain).
- 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 resulted in hearing loss, and consequently, diplacusis.
- Earwax: In some circumstances, an earwax obstruction can hinder your hearing. Whether that earwax causes a partial or full obstruction, it can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be the result of a tumor in your ear canal. But remain calm! In most instances they’re benign. But you should still speak with us about it.
It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you most likely have some degree of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. So you should absolutely come in and talk to us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. However, diplacusis is frequently caused by irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. 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 gradually fade when you benefit from hearing aids. It’s important to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us help you with that.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant might be the only way of dealing with 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 type of hearing loss is the cause of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to determine that (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). We have extremely sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be detected.
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.
Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandkids tell you all about what a Diplodocus is, and you (hopefully) won’t have any diplacusis to impede you.
If you think you have diplacusis and want to have it checked, call today for an appointment.