If you can hear sounds and understand 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.
Brain function, age, general health, and the physical 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 frustrating experience of hearing people talk but not being able to understand what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You could 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 diminished by issues to the outer and middle ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. Depending on the seriousness of issues going on in your ear, you may be able to make out some individuals, with louder voices, versus hearing 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 affects the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be blocked if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are damaged. Voices might sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices or cannot separate voices from the background noise.