Millions of years ago, the world was much different. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. 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. Diplacusis is a hearing condition that causes you to hear two sounds instead of one.
While it’s not a “horrible lizard,” in many ways diplacusis can be a menace on its own, leading to a hearing experience that feels bewildering and out of sorts (frequently making communication difficult or impossible).
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately
We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a sort of progressive lowering of the volume knob. Over time, the idea is, we simply hear less and less. But in some cases, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. One of the most fascinating (or, possibly, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.
Diplacusis, what is it?
So, what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Normally, your brain gets signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and combines them harmoniously into one sound. This blended sound is what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you put a hand on your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Usually, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so significantly that your brain can no longer blend them, at least not very well. You can develop diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Diplacusis comes in two kinds
Different individuals are affected differently by diplacuses. Usually, though, people will experience one of the following two forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type 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 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 thinks the sound is high-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand as a result.
- Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will sound off because your brain gets the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two separate pitches. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause difficulty with regard to understanding speech.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis can include:
- Phantom echoes
- Off timing hearing
- Hearing that sounds off (in pitch).
The condition of double vision could be a helpful comparison: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (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 strategy would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.
What are the causes diplacusis?
In a very basic sense (and probably not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align quite nicely with the causes of hearing loss. But you could develop diplacusis for a number of specific reasons:
- Your ears have damage related to 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.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be impacted by an earwax obstruction. That earwax obstruction can lead to diplacusis.
- An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a natural response, can effect the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But remain calm! In most instances they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should talk to your hearing specialist about!
It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you probably have some amount of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. So you should definitely come in and see us.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If your condition is caused by an obstruction, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that blockage. However, diplacusis is frequently caused by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:
- Hearing aids: The right pair of hearing aids can neutralize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. It’s essential to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us assist you with that.
- Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant may be the only way of managing diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.
All of this starts with a hearing assessment. Think about it like this: a hearing exam will be able to identify what type of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you might not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think stuff sounds weird these days). Modern hearing assessments are quite sensitive, and good at detecting inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Life is more fun when you can hear clearly
Getting the proper 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. It will be easier to talk to people. 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 impede you.
If you believe you have diplacusis and want to get it checked, call today for an appointment.