Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, 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 somebody’s voice and nearby noise, your hearing problem may be in your ear’s ability to conduct sound or in your brain’s ability to process signals, or both.

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 annoying experience being able to hear a person’s voice but not being able to process or understand what that person is saying you might be dealing with one or more of the following types of loss of hearing.

Conductive Hearing Loss

You may be suffering from conductive hearing loss if you have to continuously swallow and yank on your ears while saying with increasing annoyance “There’s something in my ear”. Issues with the middle and outer ear like fluid in the ear, a buildup of wax, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all reduce the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. You may 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

Unlike conductive hearing loss, which impacts the middle and outer ear, Sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear. Sounds to the brain can be stopped if the auditory nerve or the hair like nerves are injured. Sounds can seem too loud or soft and voices can come across too muddy. You’re suffering with high frequency hearing loss, if you have a hard time hearing women and children’s voices or can’t separate voices from the background noise.

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