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

If you have a hearing problem, it might be a problem with your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to translate impulses or both depending on your exact symptoms.

Brain function, age, overall health, and the physical makeup of your ear all play a role in your ability to process sound. You might be dealing with one of the following kinds of hearing loss if you have the aggravating experience of hearing people speak but not being able to understand what they are saying.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we tug on our ears, continuously swallow, and say again and again to ourselves with growing annoyance, “something’s in my ear,” we could be experiencing conductive hearing loss. Issues with the middle and outer ear such as fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, 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 might be able to understand some people, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Unlike conductive hearing loss, which affects the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be blocked if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are injured. Voices may sound slurred or muddy to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. If you can’t distinguish voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices particularly, then you may be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.

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