A black background with a woman who is hearing things in stereo and suffering from diplacusis.

The world was rather different millions of years ago. This steamy, volcano-laden landscape is where the long-necked Diplacusis roamed. Diplacusis was so big, thanks 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 affliction that causes you to hear two sounds instead of one.

Diplacusis is an affliction which can be frustrating and confusing leading to difficulty with communication.

Perhaps you’ve been hearing some strange things

We’re accustomed to regarding hearing loss as a sort of progressive lowering of the volume knob. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some peculiar ways. Diplacusis is one of the weirder, and also more frustrating, of these hearing problems.

What is diplacusis?

So, what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical name diplacusis is simply “double hearing”. Typically, your brain takes information from the right ear and information from the left ear and combines them harmoniously into one sound. That’s what you hear. The same thing occurs with your eyes. If you place a hand over your right eye and then a hand over 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 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 people are impacted differently by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic forms of diplacusis:

  • Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is nearly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. This could cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause difficulty with regard to understanding speech.
  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s a sign of this form of diplacusis. So when your grandchildren talk to you, the pitch of their voice will sound distorted. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. This can make those sounds hard to understand.

Symptoms of diplacusis

Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:

  • Hearing that sounds off (in timing).
  • Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
  • Hearing echoes where they don’t actually exist.

That said, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as similar to double vision: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is probably a symptom of hearing loss. As a result, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with us.

What are the causes diplacusis?

In a very general sense (and maybe not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align quite nicely with the causes of hearing loss. But there are a few specific reasons why you might develop 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 standard response, can effect the way sound moves through your inner ear and to your brain.
  • Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced hearing loss caused by noise damage, it’s possible that it could trigger diplacusis.
  • Earwax: Your hearing can be affected by an earwax blockage. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete blockage, it can lead to diplacusis.
  • A tumor: In some extremely rare situations, tumors inside your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. But remain calm! They’re normally 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 most likely have some amount of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. So you should absolutely come in and see us.

Treatments for diplacusis

The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the root cause. If you have an obstruction, treating your diplacusis will focus on clearing it out. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. In these cases, the best treatment options include:

  • Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right pair of hearing aids. Your diplacusis symptoms will slowly fade when you benefit from hearing aids. It’s essential to get the right settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us assist you with that.
  • Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant might be the only way of dealing with diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.

A hearing exam is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Think about it this way: whatever kind of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to establish that (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.

Hearing clearly is more fun than not

Getting the right 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. Talking with others will be easier. It will be easier to communicate with your family.

So there will be no diplacusis symptoms interfering with your ability to hear your grandkids telling you all about the Diplodocus.

Call today for an appointment to have your diplacusis symptoms assessed.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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