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

The world was extremely different millions of years ago. The long-necked Diplacusis wandered this volcano-laden landscape. Thanks to its really long neck and tail, Diplacusis was so big that it was afraid of no predator.

Actually, Diplodocus is the long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. When you’re hearing two sounds at the same time, that’s a hearing condition called diplacusis.

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

Perhaps your hearing has been a bit weird lately

Usually, we think of hearing loss as our hearing becoming muted or quiet over time. According to this idea, over time, we simply hear less and less. But sometimes, hearing loss can manifest in some peculiar ways. One of the most interesting (or, perhaps, frustrating) such presentations is a condition called diplacusis.

What is diplacusis?

So, what is diplacusis? The meaning of the medical term diplacusis is basically “double hearing”. Normally, your brain takes signals from your right ear and signals from the left ear and marries them harmoniously into one sound. This combined sound is what you hear. Your eyes are doing the same thing. If you put a hand over your right eye and then a hand over your left eye, you see slightly different images, right? Normally, with your ears, you won’t even notice it.

When your brain can’t successfully combine the two sounds from your ears because they are too different, you have this condition of diplacusis. You can develop diplacusis as a result of hearing loss in one ear (called monaural diplacusis) or both ears (binaural diplacusis).

Two forms of diplacusis

Diplacusis doesn’t impact everyone in the same way. However, there are usually two basic forms of diplacusis:

  • Diplacusis dysharmonica: This type of diplacusis happens when the pitch of the right ear and the pitch of the left ear are hearing sound as two different pitches. 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 hard to understand as a result.
  • 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 separate pitches. This may cause echoes (or, rather, artifacts that sound like echoes). This can also cause difficulty in terms of understanding speech.

Symptoms of diplacusis

The symptoms of diplacusis could include:

  • Phantom echoes
  • Off timing hearing
  • Off pitch hearing

That said, it’s useful to think of diplacusis as akin to double vision: Yes, it can produce some symptoms on its own, but it’s normally itself a symptom of something else. (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 Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.

What causes diplacusis?

In a very basic sense (and perhaps not surprisingly), the causes of diplacusis align rather well with the causes of hearing loss. But there are some specific reasons why you could develop diplacusis:

  • Noise-related damage to your ears: If you’ve experienced enough loud noises to damage your hearing, it’s feasible that the same damage has led to hearing loss, and consequently, diplacusis.
  • Earwax: Your ability to hear can be affected by an earwax obstruction. Whether that earwax forms a partial or complete blockage, it can lead to diplacusis.
  • An infection: Swelling of your ear canal can be the result of an ear infection, sinus infection, or even allergies. This swelling, while a typical response, can effect the way sound travels through your inner ear and to your brain.
  • A tumor: Diplacusis can, in rare cases, be caused by a tumor inside of your ear canal. But remain calm! They’re usually benign. But you still should consult with us about it.

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

How is diplacusis treated?

Depending on the underlying cause, there are several possible treatments. If your condition is related to an obstruction, like earwax, then treatment will concentrate on the removal of that blockage. But permanent sensorineural hearing loss is more often the cause. Here are some treatment options if that’s the situation:

  • Hearing aids: Your hearing can be neutralized with the correct set of hearing aids. This means that the symptoms of diplacusis will likely disappear. It’s essential to get the right settings on your hearing aids and you’ll want to have us help you with that.
  • Cochlear implant: A cochlear implant might be the only way of managing diplacusis if the root cause is profound hearing loss.

A hearing test is the first step to getting to the bottom of the problem. Here’s how you can think about it: a hearing exam will be able to identify what kind of hearing loss is at the root of your diplacusis (maybe you simply think things sound weird at this point and you don’t even recognize it as diplacusis). We have extremely sensitive hearing tests nowadays and any discrepancies with how your ears are hearing the world will be found.

Hearing clearly is more fun than not

Getting the proper treatment for your diplacusis, whether that’s a hearing aid or something else, means you’ll be more capable of participating in your daily life. It will be easier to carry on conversations. Keeping up with your family will be easier.

Which means, you’ll be able to hear your grandchildren 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 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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