Diplacusis, or double hearing syndrome, is a hearing disorder in which the same sound is perceived differently between the two ears in intensity, pitch and tonality.
The symptoms can affect only one ear (Diplacusis monauralis) or both (Diplacusis binauralis), and derive from various causes, including poorly treated otitis media, too intense exposure to sound waves or even obstruction of the ear canal. The perception of double hearing proves to be particularly harmful as the subject loses the reference points of the sound source, being unable to transform the acoustic waves into neuronal stimulations.
While for some people diplacusis is only a temporary disorder, for others it may be permanent. There are different types of diplacusis, such as:
Diplacusis causes can be different. The disorder is related to damage to the inner ear and can occur when the person already suffers from sensorineural or conductive hearing loss. In addition, people who develop diplacusis usually develop it suddenly after exposure to loud noise, ear infections, or head trauma. Diplacusis' main causes include:
Effective treatment of diplacusis links to its underlying causes. In some situations it is a transient phenomenon that tends to disappear spontaneously within a short time. In other cases, however, the problem becomes chronic and requires targeted solutions. This is why, when the first symptoms appear, it is advisable to consult a physician or hearing care specialist who, after a careful visit and instrumental tests, will identify the source of the disorder:
For a correct diagnosis of diplacusis, it will be necessary to contact a physician or audiologist, who will carry out a visit and further instrumental tests, including a hearing test. They will be able to identify the triggering cause of the problem and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for the type of diplacusis.
Diplacusis may be transient from an ear canal obstruction, ear infection or other type of ear disease. By resolving the underlying cause, the diplacusis should also go away.
However, if diplacusis is related to a form of hearing loss, it may be necessary to treat it with hearing aids.