The world was rather different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis wandered. Diplacusis was so large, thanks to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
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 causing difficulty with communication.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some odd things
We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a sort of gradual lowering of the volume knob. According to this idea, 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 fascinating (or, possibly, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical name that means, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain will mix 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 over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Your ears are the same, it’s just that usually, you never notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so wildly that your brain can no longer combine them, at least not very well. You can experience diplacusis as a result of hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two forms
Diplacusis does not affect everybody in the same way. However, there are usually two basic types of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type 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 grandkids speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can make those sounds hard to understand.
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain gets the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two different pitches. Artifacts like echoes can be the result. This can also cause challenges with regard to understanding speech.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:
- Off timing hearing
- Off pitch hearing
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
The condition of double vision may be a useful comparison: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (Essentially, it’s the effect, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with us.
What causes diplacusis?
In a very basic sense (and probably not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align quite well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you may develop 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 cause diplacusis.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be impacted by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some very rare instances, tumors in your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. Don’t panic! They’re usually benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
Obviously, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same common causes. Meaning that you most likely have some amount of hearing loss if you have 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 often caused by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be equalized with the right pair of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. You’ll want to consult us about finding the right settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: In cases 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.
All of this begins with a hearing exam. Think about it like this: a hearing test will be able to determine what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you may just think stuff sounds weird these days). Modern hearing tests are quite sensitive, and good at finding 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 something else. It will be easier to carry on conversations. 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 grandchildren telling you all about the Diplodocus.
If you believe you have diplacusis and want to have it checked, give us a call for an appointment.