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 specific symptoms.
Brain function, age, overall health, and the genetic makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. If you have the annoying experience of hearing a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you could be dealing with one or more of the following kinds of loss of hearing.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When we yank on our ears, repeatedly swallow, and say over and over to ourselves with growing irritation, “something’s in my ear,” we may be suffering from conductive hearing loss. Problems with the outer and middle ear such as fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all decrease the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. You may still be able to hear some people with louder voices while only partially hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
In contrast to conductive hearing loss, which impacts the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Damage to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve itself can stop sound signals from going to the brain. Voices could sound slurred or muddy to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or cannot differentiate voices from the background noise.