If you can hear sounds and make out some words but not others, or you can’t differentiate between someone’s voice and nearby noise, your hearing problem may 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 genetic makeup of your ear all play a role in your ability to process sound. You might be dealing with one of the following kinds of hearing loss if you have the aggravating experience of hearing people talk but not being able to understand what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You may be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and yank on your ears while saying with increasing annoyance “There’s something in my ear”. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is lessened by problems to the middle and outer ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and fluid buildup. Depending on the seriousness of problems going on in your ear, you might be able to make out some people, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others speaking in normal or lower tones.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
In contrast to conductive hearing loss, which impacts the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Damage to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve itself can stop sound signals to the brain. Sounds can seem too soft or loud and voices can sound too muddy. You’re suffering with high frequency hearing loss, if you have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or cannot distinguish voices from the background noise.