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

The world was very different millions of years ago. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Diplacusis was so big, 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 affliction that causes you to hear two sounds at the same time.

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

Maybe you’ve been hearing some unusual things

We’re accustomed to thinking of hearing loss as a kind of progressive lowering of the volume knob. According to this notion, over time, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some unusual ways. One of the most interesting (or, possibly, frustrating) such manifestations is a condition called diplacusis.

Diplacusis, what is it?

So, what’s diplacusis? Diplacusis is a medical name that means, pretty simply, “double hearing”. Normally, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and marries them harmoniously into one sound. That’s what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you place a hand on your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Your ears are the same, it’s just that typically, you never notice it.

Diplacusis happens when the hearing abilities of your ears vary so wildly that your brain can no longer merge them, at least not well. You can develop diplacusis due to hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).

Diplacusis comes in two kinds

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

  • Diplacusis echoica: This happens 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 result. This can also cause challenges when it comes to understanding speech.
  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: When the pitch of the right and left ear are off it’s an indication of this type of diplacusis. So the sound will be distorted when somebody speaks with you. One side might sound high-pitched and the other low-pitched. Those sounds can be difficult to understand consequently.

Symptoms of diplacusis

Here are some symptoms of diplacusis:

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

That said, it’s helpful to view diplacusis as similar to double vision: It’s usually a symptom of something else, but it can produce some of its own symptoms. (In other words, it’s the effect, not the cause.) Diplacusis, in these circumstances, is most likely a symptom of hearing loss. So your best strategy would be to make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.

What are the causes diplacusis?

In a very basic sense (and maybe not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align quite nicely 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 outcome of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling is a common immune response, but it can influence the way sound waves move through your inner ear (and therefore your brain).
  • Earwax: In some instances, an earwax obstruction can impede your hearing. That earwax blockage can cause diplacusis.
  • Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced enough loud sounds to damage your hearing, it’s feasible that the same damage has resulted in hearing loss, and as a result, diplacusis.
  • A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare situations, be caused by a tumor in your ear canal. But stay calm! In most instances they’re benign. Still, it’s something you should speak with your hearing specialist about!

It’s clear that there are a number of the same causes of hearing loss and diplacusis. Meaning that you most likely have some level of hearing loss if you have diplacusis. So you should absolutely come in and talk to us.

How is diplacusis treated?

The treatments for diplacusis differ based on the underlying cause. If you have a blockage, treating your diplacusis will center around clearing it out. However, diplacusis is often brought on by irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. In these situations, the best treatment options include:

  • Hearing aids: The correct pair of hearing aids can equalize how your ears hear again. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will most likely disappear. It’s important to get the correct settings on your hearing aids and you’ll need to have us assist you with that.
  • Cochlear implant: In circumstances 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 begins with a hearing assessment. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing exam will be able to identify what type of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (perhaps you simply think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even identify it as diplacusis). Modern hearing tests are really sensitive, and good at detecting discrepancies between how your ears hear the world.

Hearing well is more fun than not

Getting the right 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. It will be easier to carry on conversations. Keeping up with your family will be easier.

So there will be no diplacusis symptoms interfering with 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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