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

If you have a hearing issue, it may be something wrong in 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, general health, and the genetic makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. You could be dealing with one of the following types 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 yank on our ears, repeatedly swallow, and say over and over to ourselves with increasing irritation, “something’s in my ear,” we may be experiencing conductive hearing loss. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is lessened by issues to the outer and middle ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. Depending on the severity of problems going on in your ear, you could be able to make out some people, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

In contrast to 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 damaged. Sounds can seem too soft or loud and voices can sound too muddy. If you can’t separate voices from background noise or have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you might be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss.

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