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

Millions of years ago, the world was a lot different. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so large, 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. When you’re hearing two sounds simultaneously, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.

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

Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately

We’re used to regarding hearing loss as a kind of progressive decreasing of the volume knob. According to this idea, over time, we just 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 problems.

Diplacusis, what is it?

So, what’s diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is simply “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. Usually, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.

When your brain can’t effectively integrate the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. Monaural diplacusis is caused by hearing loss in only one ear while binaural diplacusis is due to hearing loss in both.

Two forms of diplacusis

Different people are impacted in different ways by diplacuses. Normally, though, people will experience one of the following two types of diplacusis:

  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s a sign of this form of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when someone speaks with you. One side may sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand consequently.
  • Diplacusis echoica: With this, what you hear will seem off because your brain receives the sound from each ear out of sync with the other rather than hearing two separate pitches. This might cause echoes (or, instead, artifacts that sound like echoes). This can also cause difficulty in terms of understanding speech.

Diplacusis symptoms

Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:

  • Hearing that seems off (in timing).
  • Hearing that seems off (in pitch).
  • Phantom echoes

That said, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as akin to double vision: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can create some of its own symptoms. (It’s the effect, essentially, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these cases, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. So your best strategy would be to make an appointment with us for a hearing test.

What causes diplacusis?

The causes of diplacusis line up quite well, in a general sense, with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you might develop diplacusis:

  • An infection: Inflammation of your ear canal can be the consequence of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a normal response, can impact the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
  • Your ears have damage caused by noise: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your ears, it’s feasible that the same damage has resulted in hearing loss, and consequently, diplacusis.
  • Earwax: Your ability to hear can be impacted by an earwax obstruction. Whether that earwax forms a partial or full obstruction, it can cause diplacusis.
  • A tumor: In some very rare situations, tumors in your ear canal can lead to diplacusis. Don’t panic! In most instances they’re benign. Nevertheless, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!

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 impeding your ability to hear. Which means it’s a good idea to visit a hearing specialist.

Treatments for diplacusis

Depending on the underlying cause, there are a few possible treatments. If your condition is caused by a blockage, like earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. But irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently the cause. Here are a few treatment options if that’s the situation:

  • Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the right set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely disappear. It’s essential to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us help 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 get relief from the symptoms.

All of this starts with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing test will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the source of your diplacusis (perhaps you simply think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). We have really sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any inconsistencies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.

Life is more fun when you can hear well

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. Conversations will be easier. It will be easier to stay in tune with your family.

So there will be no diplacusis symptoms getting in the way of your ability to hear your grandchildren telling you all about the Diplodocus.

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

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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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