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

If you can hear voices and understand some words but not others, or you can’t distinguish between somebody’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, overall health, and the physical makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. You could be dealing with one of the following kinds of hearing loss if you have the aggravating experience of hearing people speak but not being able to comprehend what they are saying.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we yank on our ears, continuously swallow, and say again and again to ourselves with growing annoyance, “There’s something in my ear,” we could be suffering from conductive hearing loss. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is decreased by problems to the outer and middle ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. You might still be capable of hearing some people with louder voices while only partly 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. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are injured. Sounds can seem too loud or soft and voices can sound too muddy. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices or cannot differentiate voices from the background noise.

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