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 wandered. Diplacusis was so large, thanks to its long tail and neck, that no other predators were a threat.

Actually, the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period is known as Diplodocus. Diplacusis is a hearing affliction that causes you to hear two sounds instead of one.

Diplacusis is an affliction which can be challenging and confusing causing difficulty with communication.

Maybe you’ve been hearing some unusual things

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

What is diplacusis?

Exactly what is diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Typically, your brain will combine the sound from your right and left ear into a single sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. You will see slightly different images if you cover each eye one at a time. It’s the same with your ears, it’s just that typically, you don’t notice it.

Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so wildly that your brain can no longer combine 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 types of diplacusis

Different people are affected differently by diplacuses. However, there are usually two basic forms of diplacusis:

  • Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will sound off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other instead of hearing two different pitches. This might cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound similar to echoes). This can also cause difficulty when it comes to understanding speech.
  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear don’t match it’s an indicator of this type of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. Maybe your right ear hears the sound as low-pitched and your left ear hears the sound as high-pitched. Those sounds can be hard to understand consequently.

Diplacusis symptoms

The symptoms of diplacusis can include:

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

Having said that, it’s useful to view diplacusis as akin to double vision: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s usually itself a symptom of something else. (In other words, it’s the effect, not the cause.) In these circumstances, diplacusis is almost always a symptom of hearing loss (either in one ear or in both ears). So your best course of action would be to Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.

What are the causes diplacusis?

In a very general sense (and probably not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But you may develop diplacusis for a number of particular reasons:

  • Noise-induced damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your ears, it’s possible that the same damage has led to 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 standard response, can effect the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
  • Earwax: In some instances, an earwax blockage can impede your hearing. Whether that earwax causes a partial or complete obstruction, it can cause diplacusis.
  • A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare instances, be the result of a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! In most cases they’re benign. But you should still talk to us about it.

It’s obvious that there are a number of the same causes of diplacusis and hearing loss. Meaning that you likely have some level of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. Which means you have a good reason to visit a hearing specialist.

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 irreversible 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 set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. It’s essential to get the proper settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us assist you with that.
  • Cochlear implant: In cases where the hearing loss at the root of diplacusis is profound, a cochlear implant may be the only way to provide relief from the symptoms.

A hearing test is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Think about it like this: a hearing exam will be able to establish what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (perhaps you simply think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). Modern hearing assessments are very sensitive, and good at finding inconsistencies between how your ears hear the world.

Life is more fun when you can hear clearly

You’ll be better able to enjoy your life when you get the proper 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 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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