Millions of years ago, the world was much different. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis wandered. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it was afraid of no predator.
Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Diplacusis is a hearing condition that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.
While it’s not a “terrible lizard,” in many ways diplacusis can be a menace on its own, resulting in a hearing experience that feels confusing and out of sorts (frequently making communication challenging or impossible).
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some strange things
Usually, 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, types of hearing loss. One of the most fascinating (or, perhaps, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Usually, your brain will blend the sound from your right and left ear into a single sound. This combined sound is what you hear. The same thing happens with your eyes. You will see slightly different images if you cover each eye one at a time. Usually, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
When your brain can’t effectively combine the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. You can develop diplacusis because of the hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Two kinds of diplacusis
Diplacusis does not impact everybody in the same way. Normally, though, people 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. This can also cause difficulty with regard to understanding speech.
- 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 grandchildren talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. Perhaps your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. This can make those sounds difficult to understand.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Phantom echoes
- Off timing hearing
- Off pitch hearing
The condition of double vision might be a helpful comparison: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (In other words, it’s the effect, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these circumstances, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. So your best course of action would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.
What causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But you could experience diplacusis for numerous particular reasons:
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the consequence of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a standard response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: In some instances, an earwax obstruction can impede your ability to hear. 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: In some extremely rare instances, tumors in your ear canal can cause diplacusis. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should talk to your hearing specialist about!
Obviously, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same common causes. This means that if you have diplacusis, it’s likely that something is impeding your ability to hear. So you should absolutely come in and talk to us.
Treatments for diplacusis
Depending on the underlying cause, there are several possible treatments. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. However, diplacusis is frequently caused by irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. In these situations, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The right pair of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely disappear. It’s essential to get the right settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant may be the only way of dealing with diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
All of this starts with a hearing exam. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to determine what kind of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you may just think stuff sounds weird these days). Modern hearing tests are quite sensitive, and good at detecting inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear well
You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s hearing aids or some other treatment. Talking with others will be easier. 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.