If you have a hearing problem, it may be a problem with your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to process signals or both depending on your precise symptoms.
Your ability to process sound is governed by a number of variables such as general health, age, brain function, and genetics. If you have the annoying experience of hearing a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you may be dealing with one or more of the following types of loss of hearing.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You could be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and tug on your ears while saying with growing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is decreased by problems to the middle and outer ear including wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and fluid buildup. You might still be capable of hearing 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 caused by outer- and middle-ear problems, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Damage to the inner ear’s hair-like cells or the auditory nerve itself can block sound signals from going to the brain. Sounds can seem too soft or loud and voices can come across too muddy. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or cannot separate voices from the background noise.