If you can hear sounds and make out some words but not others, or you can’t distinguish between somebody’s voice and nearby noise, your hearing issue might be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s ability to process signals, or both.
Your ability to process sound is determined by several variables like general health, age, brain function, and genetics. You could be dealing with one of the following types of hearing loss if you have the frustrating experience of hearing people talk but not being able to understand what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You might be suffering from 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”. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is diminished by issues to the outer and middle ear like wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. You may still be capable of hearing some people with louder voices while only partly hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Where conductive hearing loss can be caused by outer- and middle-ear issues, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are damaged. Sounds can seem too loud or soft and voices can sound too muddy. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices or cannot distinguish voices from the background noise.