Millions of years ago, the world was much different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Thanks to its extra long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it feared 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 instead of one.
Diplacusis is a condition which can be frustrating and confusing leading to difficulty communicating.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately
We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a sort of gradual decreasing of the volume knob. Over time, the story goes, we simply hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, types of hearing loss. One of the most interesting (or, perhaps, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.
What is diplacusis?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Normally, your brain takes information from the right ear and information from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into one sound. This blended sound is what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t effectively combine the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. You can develop diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two forms
Different people are impacted in different ways by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic types 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 instead of hearing two different pitches. Artifacts like echoes can be the outcome. And understanding speech can become difficult as a result.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This kind of diplacusis occurs when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So the sound will be distorted when someone talks to you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand as a result.
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Phantom echoes
- Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
- Off timing hearing
The condition of double vision might be a useful comparison: Yes, it can develop some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) In these cases, diplacusis is nearly always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). Consequently, 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 sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few specific reasons why you may develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the consequence of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a normal response, can effect the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: In some cases, an earwax obstruction can interfere with your ability to hear. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete obstruction, it can lead to diplacusis.
- Noise-induced damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced hearing loss caused by noise damage, it’s possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some very rare circumstances, tumors inside your ear canal can cause diplacusis. But remain calm! They’re usually benign. But you should still speak with us about it.
It’s clear that there are many of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you probably have some level of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. So you should absolutely come in and see us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. However, diplacusis is often caused by irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The right set of hearing aids can neutralize how your ears hear again. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you take advantage of hearing aids. You’ll want to talk to us about getting 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 get relief from the symptoms.
All of this begins with a hearing test. Think about it this way: a hearing test will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think stuff sounds weird these days). We have very 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
Getting the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or something else, means you’ll be more capable of participating in your daily life. Conversations will be easier. 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 grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms checked.