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 translate signals or both depending on your precise symptoms.

Brain function, age, overall health, and the physical makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. If you have the annoying experience being able to hear a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you might be experiencing one or more of the following kinds of loss of hearing.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we tug on our ears, repeatedly swallow, and say again and again to ourselves with growing irritation, “There’s something in my ear,” we might be experiencing conductive hearing loss. Problems with the middle and outer ear like fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or eardrum damage all diminish the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the seriousness of problems going on in your ear, you might be able to understand some individuals, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be brought on by outer- and middle-ear problems, 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 a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or can’t distinguish voices from the background noise.

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