Millions of years ago, the world was quite a bit different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so large, 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 a condition which can be frustrating and confusing causing difficulty communicating.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some unusual things
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, forms of hearing loss. Diplacusis is one of the stranger, and also more frustrating, of these hearing conditions.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what’s diplacusis? The meaning of the medical name diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Typically, your brain gets information from the right ear and information from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into one sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing occurs with your eyes. If you put a hand on your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Usually, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t successfully merge the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. Monaural diplacusis is a result of hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is due to hearing loss in both.
Diplacusis comes in two kinds
Different individuals are impacted differently by diplacuses. Usually, though, individuals will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:
- 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 separate pitches. Artifacts like echoes can be the result. And understanding speech can become difficult as a result.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s a sign of this form of diplacusis. So when your grandchildren talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Maybe your right ear thinks the sound is low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand consequently.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Off timing hearing
- Phantom echoes
- Off pitch hearing
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 cases, diplacusis is almost always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with us.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up very well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you may develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the result of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This inflammation is a common immune response, but it can impact the way sound waves move through your inner ear (and therefore your brain).
- Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax forms a partial or complete blockage, it can cause diplacusis.
- Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your ears, it’s feasible that the same damage has led to hearing loss, and as a result, diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! They’re normally benign. But you should still talk to us about it.
It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. This means that if you have diplacusis, it’s a good bet 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 root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. But irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently the cause. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The right pair 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 proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
- 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.
A hearing test is the first step to getting it all figured out. Think about it this way: a hearing assessment will be able to establish what type of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think things sound weird these days). Modern hearing tests are really sensitive, and good at finding inconsistencies 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. Conversations will be easier. It will be easier to communicate with your family.
So there will be no diplacusis symptoms getting in the way of your ability to hear your grandchildren telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to get your diplacusis symptoms assessed.