Amid the din of the federal election campaign kicking off on Monday, Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion revealed his struggles with the English language may be the result of an inherited hearing problem.

"I have a difficulty to isolate sounds," he told reporters who were eager to pepper the Liberal leader with questions during a rowdy campaign stop in Saint-Lambert, Que.

Dion said he has trouble picking up individual sounds when faced with many people talking at once, such as during cocktail parties or often-raucous scrums with reporters.

Dion, who has faced criticism for failing to communicate his message clearly to English-speaking Canadians, added his mother had the same problem. But he was unable to recall the medical term of the condition.

"I've been tested, and it's the case that I hear everything when the sound is isolated, but when it's confused with other sounds, then it's completely confused," he said. "It may affect my ability then to catch the music of the beautiful language of English."