Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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

If you can hear sounds and understand some words but not others, or you can’t differentiate between a person’s voice and surrounding noise, your hearing problem could be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s ability to process signals, or both.

Your ability to process sound is governed by several factors like general health, age, brain function, and genetics. You may be dealing with one of the following kinds 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

When we tug on our ears, continuously swallow, and say again and again to ourselves with growing irritation, “There’s something in my ear,” we might be suffering from conductive hearing loss. The ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain is decreased by issues to the middle and outer ear like wax buildup, ear infections, eardrum damage, and buildup of fluid. You may still be able to hear some people with louder voices while only partly hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be induced by outer- and middle-ear issues, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be blocked if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are damaged. Voices might sound slurred or unclean to you, and sounds can come across as either too high or too low. If you can’t separate voices from background noise or have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices in particular, then you might be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss.

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