The world was rather different millions of years ago. 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.
Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing resulting in difficulty communicating.
Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately
We’re accustomed to regarding hearing loss as a kind of progressive lowering of the volume knob. According to this idea, over time, we just hear less and less. But there are some other, not so well known, types of hearing loss. 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 name diplacusis is basically “double hearing”. Normally, your brain gets information from the right ear and information from the left ear and marries them harmoniously into a single 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 over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you don’t even notice it.
Diplacusis occurs when the hearing abilities of your ears differ so significantly that your brain can no longer combine them, at least not well. Monaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in both.
Two types of diplacusis
Diplacusis does not affect everybody in the same way. However, there are typically two basic types of diplacusis:
- 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 different pitches. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. This can also cause challenges when it comes to understanding speech.
- 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 the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand consequently.
The symptoms of diplacusis could include:
- Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.
- Off pitch hearing
- Off timing hearing
Having said that, it’s helpful 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.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is almost always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably make an appointment with a hearing specialist.
What causes diplacusis?
In a very general sense (and perhaps not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather nicely with the causes of hearing loss. But you could experience diplacusis for a number of particular reasons:
- Your ears have damage related to noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss caused by noise damage, it’s feasible that it could cause diplacusis.
- Earwax: Your ability to hear can be affected by an earwax obstruction. That earwax blockage can lead to diplacusis.
- An infection: Ear infections, sinus infections, or even normal allergies can cause your ear canal to swell. This inflammation, while a standard response, can impact the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
- A tumor: In some extremely rare cases, tumors inside your ear canal can result in diplacusis. But remain calm! In most instances they’re benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!
Obviously, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same common causes. Meaning that you probably have some amount of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. Which means it’s a good idea to see a hearing specialist.
How is diplacusis treated?
The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If your condition is caused by an obstruction, such as earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that blockage. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently the cause. In these cases, the best treatment options include:
- Hearing aids: The right set of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. You’ll want to talk to us about getting the correct settings for your hearing aids.
- 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 begins with a hearing assessment. Think about it this way: a hearing assessment 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 stuff sounds weird these days). Modern hearing tests are very sensitive, and good at finding inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.
Hearing clearly is more fun than not
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. It will be easier to talk to people. 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 get your diplacusis symptoms checked.