The world was rather different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis wandered. Diplacusis was so big, 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.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing resulting in difficulty with communication.
Maybe you’ve been hearing some strange things
We’re accustomed to thinking of hearing loss as a kind of gradual lowering of the volume knob. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well recognized, types 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 term diplacusis is basically “double hearing”. Normally, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and combines them harmoniously into one sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand on your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Your ears are the same, it’s just that typically, you never notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not well. You can develop diplacusis because of the hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).
Two kinds of diplacusis
Different individuals are affected in different ways by diplacuses. However, there are typically two basic forms of diplacusis:
- Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear don’t match it’s an indication of this form of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when somebody speaks with you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can cause those sounds to be difficult to understand.
- Diplacusis echoica: This happens when the pitch is mostly the same from ear to ear, but due to your hearing loss, the timing is out of whack. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the result. And understanding speech can become difficult because of this.
Symptoms of diplacusis
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Phantom echoes
- Off pitch hearing
- Hearing that seems off (in timing).
The condition of double vision may be a helpful comparison: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (Essentially, it’s the effect, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these circumstances, is probably a symptom of hearing loss. As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with us.
What are the causes diplacusis?
The causes of diplacusis line up very well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But you could develop diplacusis for a number of specific reasons:
- 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 as a result, diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even just plain old allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This inflammation, while a typical response, can impact the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- Earwax: Your hearing can be impacted by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full obstruction, it can lead to diplacusis.
- A tumor: In some really rare instances, tumors in your ear canal can cause diplacusis. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. But you should still consult with us about it.
As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same common causes. This means that if you’re experiencing diplacusis, it’s likely that something is interfering with 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 underlying cause. If your condition is the result of an obstruction, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that obstruction. However, diplacusis is frequently brought on by permanent sensorineural hearing loss. In these cases, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The correct pair of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from hearing aids. You’ll want to consult us about getting the right settings for your hearing aids.
- Cochlear implant: In circumstances 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 begins with a hearing assessment. Think about it this way: a hearing assessment will be able to identify what type of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (and, to be fair, you may not even recognize it as diplacusis, you might just think stuff sounds weird these days). We have extremely sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.
Hearing well is more fun than not
Getting the appropriate treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or some other treatment option, means you’ll be more able to participate in your daily life. Conversations will be easier. Keeping up with your family will be easier.
So there will be no diplacusis symptoms getting in the way of your ability to hear your grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.
Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms checked.