If you can hear voices and make out some words but not others, or you can’t differentiate between a person’s voice and nearby 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.
Your ability to process sound is influenced by a number of factors such as general health, age, brain function, and genetics. If you have the frustrating experience being able to hear a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you could 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 repeatedly swallow and yank 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 like wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. Depending on the seriousness of issues going on in your ear, you may be able to understand some people, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others speaking in normal or lower tones.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Where conductive hearing loss can be induced by outer- and middle-ear problems, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are damaged. Voices could sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. You’re experiencing high frequency hearing loss, if you have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices or can’t distinguish voices from the background noise.