If you can hear sounds and make out some words but not others, or you can’t distinguish between somebody’s voice and surrounding noise, your hearing problem could be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s ability to process 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 might 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 could be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to repeatedly swallow and tug on your ears while saying with increasing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. Problems with the outer and middle ear like fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or eardrum damage all decrease the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the seriousness of issues going on in your ear, you may be able to understand some individuals, with louder voices, versus hearing partial words from others speaking in normal or lower tones.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Where conductive hearing loss can be triggered by outer- and middle-ear issues, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are injured. Voices may sound slurred or muddy to you, and sounds can sound as either too low or too high. If you can’t distinguish voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices particularly, then you might be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.