Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered 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. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition known as diplacusis.
Diplacusis is a condition which can be challenging and confusing causing difficulty communicating.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some unusual things
Typically, we think of 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, forms of hearing loss. One of the most fascinating (or, possibly, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical name that means, basically, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into a single sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand over your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t efficiently integrate the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. 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 kinds
Diplacusis does not impact everyone in the same way. Normally, though, individuals will experience one of the following two forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s an indicator of this form of diplacusis. So when your grandchildren speak with 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.
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other rather than hearing two different pitches. This might cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). And understanding speech can become difficult because of this.
Symptoms of diplacusis
Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:
- Phantom echoes
- Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
That said, it’s useful to view diplacusis as akin to double vision: 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.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
What are the causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up very well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few particular reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud sounds to damage your hearing, it’s feasible that the same damage has resulted in hearing loss, and consequently, diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the result of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a normal response, can effect the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your ability to hear can be impacted by an earwax obstruction. That earwax obstruction can trigger diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be the result of a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! They’re usually benign. Still, it’s something you should talk to your hearing specialist about!
It’s obvious that there are many of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. This 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 talk to us.
Treatments for diplacusis
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. However, diplacusis is often due to permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. It’s essential to get the right settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us help you with that.
- 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.
All of this starts with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to establish what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you may just think things sound weird these days). Modern hearing tests are really sensitive, and good at detecting inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
Getting the right 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. Talking with others will be easier. 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 impede you.
Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms checked.