Millions of years ago, the world was quite a bit different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so big, thanks to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is known as Diplodocus. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing resulting in difficulty with communication.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some odd things
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. Over time, the story goes, we simply hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, forms of hearing loss. One of the most interesting (or, possibly, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical name diplacusis is basically “double hearing”. Typically, your brain takes information from the right ear and information from the left ear and marries them harmoniously into one sound. This combined sound is what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. You will see slightly different images if you put your hand over each eye one at a time. It’s the same with your ears, it’s just that usually, you never notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not well. Monaural diplacusis is a result of hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two types
Different individuals are affected in different ways by diplacuses. Usually, though, individuals will experience one of the following two 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 speak with you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Maybe your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear thinks the sound is high-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand consequently.
- Diplacusis echoica: This happens when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. This may cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound like echoes). And understanding speech can become challenging as a result.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Hearing that sounds off (in pitch).
- Off timing hearing
That said, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as similar to double vision: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these circumstances, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. So your best strategy would be to make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
What causes diplacusis?
In a very basic sense (and probably not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis line up rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some particular reasons why you might develop diplacusis:
- Earwax: Your ability to hear can be affected by an earwax obstruction. That earwax obstruction can lead to diplacusis.
- Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced hearing loss due to noise damage, it’s feasible that it could cause diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even normal allergies can cause your ear canal to become inflamed. This inflammation, while a normal response, can impact the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- A tumor: In some really rare situations, tumors inside 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!
It’s obvious that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Which means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s a good bet something is interfering with your ability to hear. So you should absolutely come in and see us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis vary based on the root cause. If your condition is caused by a blockage, like earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is frequently due to permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The correct set of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from 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 might be the only way to provide relief from the symptoms.
A hearing exam is the first step to getting it all figured out. Think about it this way: whatever type of hearing loss is the cause of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to identify that (perhaps you just think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). Modern hearing tests are quite sensitive, and good at finding discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
Getting the right 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. It will be easier to communicate with your family.
So there will be no diplacusis symptoms interfering with your ability to hear your grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms checked.