Woman can't hear the television while watching with friends.

If you can hear sounds and make out some words but not others, or you can’t differentiate between somebody’s voice and nearby noise, your hearing problem might be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s capability of processing signals, or both.

Age, overall wellness, brain function, and the physical makeup of your ear all play a role in your ability to process sound. You may be dealing with one of the following kinds of hearing loss if you have the annoying experience of hearing people speak but not being able to comprehend what they are saying.

Conductive Hearing Loss

You might be suffering from conductive hearing loss if you have to repeatedly swallow and yank on your ears while saying with increasing annoyance “There’s something in my ear”. Problems with the outer and middle ear like fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all reduce the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. You may still be able to hear some people with louder voices while only partially hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

In contrast to conductive hearing loss, which affects the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Injury to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve itself can stop sound signals from going to the brain. Voices could sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. If you cannot differentiate voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you might be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

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