If you have a hearing issue, it might be a problem with your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to process signals or both depending on your exact symptoms.
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 frustrating experience of hearing people speak but not being able to comprehend what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You may be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and tug on your ears while saying with growing annoyance “There’s something in my ear”. Issues with the outer and middle ear like fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or eardrum damage all reduce the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the seriousness of issues going on in your ear, you could be able to understand some people, with louder voices, versus hearing partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Where conductive hearing loss can be triggered by outer- and middle-ear problems, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Damage to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve itself can block sound signals to the brain. Voices may sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too low or too high. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices or can’t distinguish voices from the background noise.