For many people, each of their ears work together in order to gather sounds as one system and transmit it to the brain. Even if each ear hears sound a little differently, the brain can interpret it as coming from the same sound source. It’s very similar to the way our eyes function -- we see one visual field, rather than two.
Some individuals do not understand noises as a single sound. As a result, they encounter a syndrome known as diplacusis.
Double Hearing Defined
Diplacusis, or “double hearing”, is a type of hearing loss that causes people to hear sounds so dissimilarly, it produces a distressing two-sound experience.
Diplacusis is a perceived irregularity where the same sound is recognized as having a distinct pitch, depending on if the sound is heard through the left or the right ear.
Nearly everyone who has experienced “double hearing”, have found it to be rather alarming. It can affect anyone, although it is typical for those who either suffer from hearing loss in one ear, or are in the early stages of hearing loss.
Categories of Double Hearing
Double hearing may affect each ear, or only one ear. If only one ear is affected this is known as, diplacusis monauralis.
Usually, people suffer from this problem in both ears. This is known as diplacusis binauralis.
This phenomenon happens when someone hears the same exact sound in a different way in each ear. It is typically associated with timing or pitch. One ear might hear sounds at a dissimilar speed and pitch than the other ear. There are two subcategories of diplacusis binaurals:
Causes of Diplacusis
Those who suffer from diplacusis tend to suddenly notice it after being exposed to loud noise, after contracting an ear infection or head trauma. Musicians have been able to identify this condition faster than non-musicians, because their hearing is more perceptive when it comes to pitch and tone. Those who experience double hearing may also have tinnitus, and those with Meniere's disease could suffer from double hearing.
Diplacusis can occur from an ear obstruction due to:
Diplacusis can also occur due to the erosion of your inner ear’s hair cells as a result of the following:
Treatment for Double Hearing
If there is a blockage that is causing your diplacusis, your hearing abilities may be restored to normal when the obstruction is dislodged or the infection goes away. Diplacusis that is caused by sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, but can be treated by wearing hearing aids. Auditory rehabilitation is also known to assist your brain with adapting to the symptoms.
If you, or a loved one, notice symptoms of double hearing, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation to determine the best solution.