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 process signals or both depending on your specific symptoms.

Your ability to process sound is influenced by several 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 could be experiencing one or more of the following kinds of loss of hearing.

Conductive Hearing Loss

You could be experiencing conductive hearing loss if you have to repeatedly swallow and tug on your ears while saying with increasing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. Issues with the outer and middle ear like fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all decrease the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the severity of problems going on in your ear, you might be able to understand some individuals, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others speaking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

In contrast to conductive hearing loss, which impacts the middle and outer ear, 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 to the brain. Voices could sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can sound as either too high or too low. If you can’t distinguish voices from background noise or have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices particularly, then you may be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.