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

If you have a hearing problem, it might be something wrong in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to translate signals or both depending on your precise symptoms.

Your ability to process sound is determined by several variables such as overall health, age, brain function, and genetics. If you have the frustrating experience being able to hear a person’s voice but not being able to process or understand what that person is saying you might be dealing with one or more of the following types of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we yank on our ears, repeatedly swallow, and say over and over to ourselves with increasing irritation, “something’s in my ear,” we may be suffering from conductive hearing loss. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is decreased by problems to the outer and middle ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and fluid buildup. Depending on the severity of problems going on in your ear, you could be able to make out some individuals, with louder voices, versus hearing partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be caused by outer- and middle-ear issues, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be blocked if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are damaged. Voices might sound slurred or muddy to you, and sounds can sound as either too low or too high. If you can’t distinguish 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.

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