One woman was stricken with an unusual medical issue that left her with selective hearing loss. It almost sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s real — a Chinese woman was left unable to hear the voices of men.
The Daily Mail reports that the patient, identified only by the last name Chen, woke up one morning and realized she couldn’t hear her boyfriend when he was trying to speak to her. Ms. Chen, who is from the city of Xiamen on China’s east coast, immediately went to the hospital.
Doctors were baffled by Ms. Chen’s symptoms, especially since they were in direct contradiction with typical patterns of hearing loss. In general, the more common forms of auditory issues involve losing the ability to hear higher frequencies.
Eventually, a specialist found that she had rapidly developed reverse-slope hearing loss, meaning she could only hear high frequencies.
Since women’s voices tend to be higher frequency and men’s voices are lower, this left Ms. Chen unable to hear men’s voices. This rare condition only affects about one in almost 13,000 hearing loss patients, according to the Daily Mail.
“She was able to hear me when I spoke to her, but when a young male patient walked in, she couldn’t hear him at all,” Lin Xiaoqing, the female ENT who treated Ms. Chen, said.
The patient suffered from nausea and ringing in her ears the night before she woke up unable to hear men’s voices. Doctors still aren’t exactly sure what caused the onset of the condition, but they believe heightened stress (due to working late and not sleeping enough) may have contributed to it. Thankfully, she’s expected to make a full recovery.
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