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. The long-necked Diplacusis roamed this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its extra long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so large that it was afraid of no predator.

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 a condition which can be frustrating and confusing resulting in difficulty with communication.

Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately

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

Diplacusis, what is it?

So, what’s diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical term that means, basically, “double hearing”. Normally, your brain gets information from the right ear and information from the left ear and joins them harmoniously into a single sound. This combined sound is 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. Normally, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.

When your brain can’t effectively merge 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.

Diplacusis comes in two kinds

Diplacusis does not affect everyone in the same way. Normally, though, individuals will experience one of the following two forms of diplacusis:

  • Diplacusis echoica: This occurs when the pitch is mostly the same from ear to ear, but because of your hearing loss, the timing is all wonky. Artifacts similar to echoes can be the outcome. And understanding speech can become complicated because of this.
  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: This form of diplacusis occurs when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear seem off. So the sound will be distorted when somebody talks to you. One side may sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand as a result.

Diplacusis symptoms

Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:

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

That said, it’s helpful to think of diplacusis as akin to double vision: It’s normally 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 probably a symptom of hearing loss. Consequently, if you experience diplacusis, you should probably schedule an appointment with us.

What are the causes diplacusis?

The causes of diplacusis line up rather well, in a general way, with the causes of hearing loss. But you may develop diplacusis for several particular reasons:

  • Earwax: Your ability to hear can be affected by an earwax obstruction. Whether that earwax causes a partial or full obstruction, it can lead to diplacusis.
  • Noise-induced damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your ears, 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 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: Diplacusis can, in rare instances, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. Don’t panic! In most cases they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!

As you can see, diplacusis and hearing loss have many of the same typical causes. Which means that if you have diplacusis, it’s a good bet something is interfering with your ability to hear. So you should absolutely come in and talk to us.

How is diplacusis treated?

Depending on the root cause, there are several possible treatments. If your condition is related to a blockage, like earwax, then treatment will focus on the removal of that obstruction. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more frequently the cause. In these cases, the best treatment options include:

  • Hearing aids: The correct set of hearing aids can neutralize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely fade. It’s important to get the correct 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.

All of this begins with a hearing exam. Think about it this way: whatever type of hearing loss is the source of your diplacusis, a hearing exam will be able to determine that (perhaps you just think things sound strange at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). Modern hearing tests are very sensitive, and good at finding discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.

Life is more fun when you can hear well

Getting the proper 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. It will be easier to talk to people. It will be easier to communicate with your family.

Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandkids tell you all about what a Diplodocus is, and you (hopefully) won’t have any diplacusis to get in the way.

Call today for an appointment to get 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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