Millions of years ago, the world was a lot 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 instead of one.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing resulting in difficulty with communication.
Perhaps your hearing has been a little weird lately
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing getting muted or quiet over time. According to this notion, over time, we just hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, types of hearing loss. One of the most fascinating (or, perhaps, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Normally, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into one sound. This combined 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 over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so significantly that your brain can no longer combine them, at least not well. You can develop diplacusis because of the hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two types
Different individuals are affected in different ways by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is mostly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. Artifacts like echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause difficulty in terms of understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So when your grandchildren 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 make out.
The symptoms of diplacusis can include:
- Hearing that sounds off (in timing).
- Phantom echoes
- Off pitch hearing
Having said that, it’s helpful to think of diplacusis as similar to double vision: 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.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is probably a symptom of hearing loss. So your best strategy would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But you could develop diplacusis for a number of specific reasons:
- Earwax: In some circumstances, an earwax obstruction can interfere with your ability to hear. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even just plain old allergies can cause your ear canal to become inflamed. This inflammation is a typical immune response, but it can impact 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 possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some really rare situations, tumors in your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. This means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. Which means you have a good reason to visit a hearing specialist.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If your condition is caused by a blockage, such as earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is frequently due to irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The correct set of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. 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 assist 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 begins with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (maybe you just think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). We have really sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Life is more fun when you can hear well
Getting the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or something else, means you’ll be more able to participate in your daily life. 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 grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
If you think you have diplacusis and want to have it checked, call today for an appointment.