Hearing Health Blog

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

If you have a hearing problem, it may be something wrong in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to process impulses or both depending on your specific symptoms.

Age, general wellness, brain function, and the physical makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. If you have the frustrating experience of hearing a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you might be dealing with 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 continuously swallow and tug on your ears while saying with increasing irritation “There’s something in my ear”. Problems with the middle and outer ear such as fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or eardrum damage all reduce the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the seriousness of problems going on in your ear, you might be able to understand some people, with louder voices, versus hearing partial words from others speaking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be brought about by outer- and middle-ear problems, Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the inner ear. Injury 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 loud or soft and voices can come across too muddy. If you cannot distinguish voices from background noise or have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you may be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss.

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