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

If you have a hearing issue, it could be a problem with your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to process signals or both depending on your specific symptoms.

Brain function, age, overall health, and the genetic makeup of your ear all play a role in 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

You could be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and tug 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 might still be capable of hearing some people with louder voices while only partially hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Unlike 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 block sound signals to the brain. Voices might sound slurred or muddy to you, and sounds can sound as either too high or too low. If you cannot differentiate voices from background noise or have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices particularly, then you might be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

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