Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its extra long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so large that it feared no predator.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is called Diplodocus. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
While it’s not a “horrible lizard,” in many ways diplacusis can be a terror on its own, resulting in a hearing experience that feels bewildering and out of sorts (frequently making communication difficult or impossible).
Maybe you’ve been hearing some unusual things
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. According to this notion, over time, we simply hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, forms of hearing loss. One of the most fascinating (or, perhaps, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what’s diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will combine the sound from your right and left ear into a single sound. This blended sound is what you hear. The same thing occurs with your eyes. You will see slightly different images if you cover each eye one at a time. 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 significantly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not very well. 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 forms
Diplacusis doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. However, there are typically two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will sound off because your brain gets the sound from each ear out of sync with the other rather than hearing two separate pitches. This might cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause difficulty in terms of understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear don’t match it’s an indication 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. Those sounds can be hard to understand as a result.
Here are a few symptoms of diplacusis:
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
- Off pitch hearing
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
The condition of double vision could be a helpful comparison: Yes, it can produce 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). As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with a hearing specialist.
What are the causes diplacusis?
In a very general sense (and perhaps not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather nicely with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax causes a partial or full blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the result of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling is a normal immune reaction, but it can influence how sound waves travel into your inner ear (and subsequently your brain).
- Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss due to noise damage, it’s feasible that it could cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some extremely rare situations, tumors in your ear canal can result in diplacusis. Don’t panic! In most cases they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same common causes. Meaning that you probably have some level of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. So you should definitely come in and talk to us.
Treatments for diplacusis
Depending on the main cause, there are a few possible treatments. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. However, diplacusis is often caused by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. In these situations, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be equalized with the correct pair of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you take advantage of hearing aids. You’ll want to speak with us about finding the correct 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 get relief from the symptoms.
All of this begins with a hearing test. Think about it like this: whatever kind of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing test will be able to establish that (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think stuff sounds weird these days). We have extremely sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be detected.
Hearing well is more fun than not
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. It will be easier to talk to people. 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 get in the way.
Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms checked.