When it comes to understanding speech, our perception of pitch is just as important as our perception of sound volume. Diplacusis is a good example of how damaged pitch perception can cause hearing issues.
So what is diplacusis exactly? It is a type of aural distortion. People with diplacusis will hear a single tone in two different pitches.
Hence, this disorder causes you to perceive one sound as two simultaneous sounds. This can be extremely distracting as well as upsetting.
Who Is at Risk?
Research suggests that people who have one-sided hearing loss are at a higher risk of diplacusis. People without hearing impairments are less at risk of this issue.
But what is diplacusis caused by? It can come from one-sided ear injury in the middle or inner ear. For example, people with head trauma or with an inner ear tumor can be at a particularly high risk of diplacusis.
Diplacusis can also be the result of gradual hearing loss. This can come from noise exposure or from certain medications.
What about Treatment?
Your diplacusis could be the result of an obstruction in one ear. In this case, it is a temporary problem, and it can easily be treated. For example, you may just need to heal your ear infection or get rid of wax buildup.
But if you have permanent diplacusis, treatment may not be that easy. Inner ear damage is usually not reversible.
If this is the case for you, you may need to look into hearing aids or even hearing implants. After all, these can help with pitch issues as well as volume issues.