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

If you have a hearing issue, it might be a problem with your ear’s ability to conduct sound or your brain’s ability to process signals or both depending on your precise symptoms.

Brain function, age, general health, and the physical makeup of your ear all play a role in your ability to process sound. If you have the frustrating experience being able to hear a person’s voice but not being able to process or understand what that person is saying you could be experiencing one or more of the following kinds of loss of hearing.

Conductive Hearing Loss

You might 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”. Issues with the outer and middle ear such as fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all diminish the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. You might still be capable of hearing some people with louder voices while only partially hearing people with lower voices depending on the severity of your hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be brought on 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. Sounds can seem too soft or loud 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 cannot distinguish voices from the background noise.