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

If you can hear sounds and understand some words but not others, or you can’t distinguish between a person’s voice and surrounding noise, your hearing issue might be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s capability of processing signals, or both.

Brain function, age, general health, and the genetic makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. You may be dealing with one of the following types of hearing loss if you have the annoying experience of hearing people speak but not being able to understand what they are saying.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we yank on our ears, continuously swallow, and say again and again to ourselves with growing aggravation, “There’s something in my ear,” we could be suffering from conductive hearing loss. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is lessened by problems to the middle and outer ear like wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. You might 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

Unlike conductive hearing loss, which affects the middle and outer ear, 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. Sounds can seem too loud or soft and voices can sound too muddy. If you can’t separate voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you might be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss.

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