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 process impulses or both depending on your specific symptoms.
Age, overall wellness, brain function, and the genetic makeup of your ear all play a role in your ability to process sound. If you have the annoying experience of hearing a person’s voice but not being able to process or understand what that person is saying you might be experiencing one or more of the following types of hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When we tug on our ears, repeatedly swallow, and say over and over to ourselves with increasing irritation, “something’s in my ear,” we might be suffering from conductive hearing loss. Issues with the outer and middle ear such as fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or eardrum damage all diminish 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
Where conductive hearing loss can be induced by outer- and middle-ear issues, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts 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 may sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. If you cannot differentiate voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you might be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.