If you can hear sounds and understand some words but not others, or you can’t distinguish between somebody’s voice and surrounding noise, your hearing issue might be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s capability of processing signals, or both.
Age, general 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 types of hearing loss if you have the aggravating experience of hearing people speak but not being able to understand what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You could be suffering from conductive hearing loss if you have to repeatedly swallow and tug on your ears while saying with growing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. Issues with the outer and middle ear such as 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 may 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 impacts the inner ear. Injury to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve as well can block sound signals from going to the brain. Voices could sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too low or too high. If you cannot separate voices from background noise or have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you may be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss.