Double Hearing Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Double hearing is a type of hearing loss that results in one or both ears registering the same sounds at different pitches, tones, or times. When this occurs, it can be difficult to understand what people are saying because you hear two versions simultaneously. It’s important to go see an audiologist for an examination of the ear canal. If there are any blockages found, a doctor can safely remove them.
Double hearing can also be caused by ear infections, tumors, or nerve damage. If the cause is not treated, it may get worse over time. Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of double hearing. However, most cases can be successfully treated with medication, surgery, or a combination of both. Double hearing should not be confused with tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can also be treated through medication and sound therapy.
Double hearing occurs when one or both of your eardrums do not receive enough stimulation from sounds around you because there are some frequencies that they cannot hear as well as before. This makes it extremely difficult to have conversations with others, and as a result, family members and friends may start to think that you are not paying attention or cannot hear them when they’re talking with you in person or on the phone.
Symptoms of Double Hearing
Symptoms of double hearing can vary from person to person, but these are the most common ones that you should look for:
- Hearing the same sound differently in one or both ears
- Echo-like repetition of a single sound
- Hearing the same sound at different pitches between your ears
- A timing difference between your ears
If you notice one or more of these symptoms lasting for a period of time, be sure to book an appointment for a hearing evaluation. An audiologist can examine your hearing and help discover the underlying cause.
Double hearing is often a symptom of conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is caused by blockages in the ear or an infection that prevents the hair cells from receiving sound. Sensorineural hearing loss is the result of damage to the inner ear or vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound to your brain.
Other Causes for Double Hearing
Sudden Exposure to Loud Noises
Loud noises are the most common type of injury to the ear. For example, after an arena concert, you might notice that your hearing is not balanced. If this persists for more than a day or two after your exposure to loud noise, you should make an appointment for a hearing evaluation.
When earwax builds up in the ear canal, it can disrupt hearing by acting as a sort of natural earplug. This can exacerbate symptoms of double hearing especially if one ear has more wax in it than the other.
Earwax buildup can be safely and thoroughly removed by a professional. There are multiple types of treatment for this condition, ranging from manual extraction to flushing with equipment.
Ear or Sinus Infections
Ear or sinus infections can cause fluid to build up in the ear canal. The presence of the fluid can be disruptive and contribute to symptoms of double hearing.
Severe injuries to the brain can disrupt the brain’s ability to interpret auditory signals. Parts of the ear may also be damaged as a result of head trauma, such as the eardrum.
In some rare cases, noncancerous tumors known as vestibular schwannoma or acoustic neuroma may appeal on the vestibular nerve that leads from the inner ear into the brain. Other symptoms that might indicate a presence of a tumor can include tinnitus (ringing), difficulty maintaining balance, feelings of dizziness, or facial numbness/weakness.
The best course of action is to treat your underlying hearing loss. You’ll need to visit an audiologist who will conduct hearing tests to determine the cause of your hearing problems. If you have earwax or other blockages in your ears, an audiologist can administer safe removal.
Double hearing can also improve after an infection has passed. Visit your primary physician for treatment and discuss antibiotic medication if an ear or sinus infection is the likely cause.
Audiologists May Also Prescribe:
- Hearing aids: Hearing devices are regularly used to treat mild to severe hearing loss. You may find improving your hearing loss will reduce your double hearing symptoms.
- Cochlear implants: These devices are surgically implanted and send signals directly to your auditory nerve, which transmits sound signals to your brain.
- Aural rehabilitation: This treatment program creates a supportive environment where those with new hearing devices can receive assistance and sensory management.