Millions of years ago, the world was quite a bit different. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so large that it was afraid of no predator.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing leading to difficulty with communication.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately
Typically, we think of hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But in some cases, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. One of the most interesting (or, possibly, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain takes information from the right ear and information from the left ear and combines them harmoniously into a single sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing happens with your eyes. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Your ears are the same, it’s just that usually, you don’t notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so significantly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not very well. You can experience diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Two types of diplacusis
Diplacusis doesn’t impact everybody in the same way. However, there are typically two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This kind of diplacusis occurs when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So when your grandkids talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Perhaps your right ear thinks the sound is low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand consequently.
- Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is out of whack. Artifacts like echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause challenges with regard to understanding speech.
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
- Phantom echoes
- Off pitch hearing
The condition of double vision may be a helpful comparison: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (Essentially, it’s the effect, not the cause.) In these cases, diplacusis is almost always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). So your best course of action would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
What are the causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up very well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: Your hearing can be impacted by an earwax blockage. That earwax obstruction can lead to diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even normal allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This swelling, while a normal response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced hearing loss as a result of noise damage, it’s feasible that it could trigger diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare instances, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. But you should still talk to us about it.
It’s obvious that there are many of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Which means that if you have 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 differ based on the root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. However, diplacusis is frequently caused by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. In these cases, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the correct set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. It’s essential 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 may be the only way to provide relief from the symptoms.
A hearing exam is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Think about it this way: a hearing assessment will be able to determine what type 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 stuff sounds weird these days). We have really 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 well
Getting the right 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. It will be easier to carry on conversations. It will be easier to stay in tune with your family.
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 think you have diplacusis and want to have it checked, give us a call for an appointment.