McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

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

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

Brain function, age, overall health, and the physical makeup of your ear all contribute to your ability to process sound. If you have the annoying experience of hearing a person’s voice but not processing or understanding what that person is saying you may be experiencing one or more of the following kinds of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When we tug on our ears, continuously swallow, and say over and over to ourselves with increasing annoyance, “something’s in my ear,” we might be suffering from conductive hearing loss. Issues with the outer and middle ear like fluid in the ear, earwax buildup, ear infections, or damage to your eardrum all reduce the ear’s ability to conduct sound to the brain. Depending on the severity of issues going on in your ear, you could be able to make out some individuals, with louder voices, versus catching partial words from others talking in normal or lower tones.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Where conductive hearing loss can be brought on by outer- and middle-ear problems, 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 muddy to you, and sounds can sound as either too high or too low. 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.