If you can hear voices and make out some words but not others, or you can’t differentiate between somebody’s voice and surrounding noise, your hearing issue could 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 physical 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 talk but not being able to comprehend what they are saying.
Conductive Hearing Loss
You may be suffering from conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and yank on your ears while saying with increasing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. Problems with the outer and middle ear such as fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or eardrum damage all decrease the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. You might still be able to hear some people with louder voices while only partially hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
In contrast to conductive hearing loss, which affects the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are injured. Sounds can seem too loud or soft and voices can sound too muddy. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or can’t distinguish voices from the background noise.