The world was very different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Diplacusis was so large, due to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. When you’re hearing two sounds simultaneously, that’s a hearing condition known as diplacusis.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing leading to difficulty with communication.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately
Typically, we regard hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. Over time, the story goes, we just hear less and less. But in some cases, hearing loss can manifest in some peculiar ways. Diplacusis is one of the stranger, and also more frustrating, of these hearing conditions.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain gets 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. The same thing occurs with your eyes. You will see slightly different images if you put your hand over each eye one at a time. Usually, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not well. 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 sound off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other rather than hearing two separate pitches. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the result. This can also cause difficulty when it comes to understanding speech.
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This form of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear are hearing sound as two different pitches. So when your grandkids 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 as a result.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis can include:
- Off pitch hearing
- Off timing hearing
- Phantom echoes
That said, it’s helpful to view diplacusis as akin 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 cases, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with us.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some particular reasons why you could develop diplacusis:
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even just plain old allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This swelling, while a standard response, can impact the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your ability to hear can be affected by an earwax obstruction. That earwax obstruction can cause diplacusis.
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss as a result of noise damage, it’s possible that it could cause diplacusis.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be the result of a tumor inside of your ear canal. But stay calm! They’re usually benign. But you still should talk to us about it.
It’s obvious that there are many of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. Meaning that you probably have some degree of hearing loss if you’re experiencing diplacusis. Which means you have a good reason to see a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If your condition is related to a blockage, such as earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is frequently brought on by irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. In these situations, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The correct set of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you take advantage of hearing aids. It’s important to get the proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want 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 get relief from the symptoms.
A hearing exam is the first step to getting it all figured out. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing assessment will be able to determine what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (perhaps you simply think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). We have very sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or something else. It will be easier to carry on conversations. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
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 get in the way.
Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms checked.