A woman called Chen from Xiamen, China, has been diagnosed with a rare hearing condition which means that she has basically lost the ability to hear men, according to the Daily Mail. And no, before you say anything, she isn’t just making it up to ignore her boyfriend in peace.
Chen knew something wasn’t quite right when she woke up one morning to find she couldn’t hear a word that her boyfriend was saying. Although some would be happy with this, Chen was freaked out, and sought medical attention straight away.
She checked into Qianpu Hospital to see an ear, nose and throat specialist (as you probably know, those things are all connected), to see what the problem was. While she was there, Chen soon noticed that she was able to hear her female doctor speak but not, bizarrely, a patient who walked into the room – who was male.
It wasn’t long before Chen was diagnosed with an auditory condition called reverse-slope hearing loss (or RSHL), which refers to the patient’s inability to hear lower frequencies. This explained why men’s voices had been tuned out, but the condition goes further than that. RSHL sufferers struggle with any particularly low sound, including voices over the phone, the hum of a car, and thunder. According to Thigpen Hearing Center, many people with this condition don’t even realize they have it, and just assume they have generally poor hearing.
It is also extremely uncommon. Again according to Thigpen Hearing Center, roughly 3,000 people in the US and Canada have the condition. That is roughly 0.00001% of the whole population, and accounts for just one in every 12,000 incidents of hearing loss.
The vast majority of people who have hearing loss are diagnosed with what is called ski-slope hearing loss, which is basically a difficulty in identifying high frequency. That can include the voices of women and children, which tend to be higher pitched than male voices. RSHL is the opposite, hence its name, reverse-slope hearing loss.
According to reports, Chen had experience ringing in the ear and vomiting the night before and her doctors attributed it to stress and a lack of sleep. The good news is, with ongoing medical care, she is expected to make a full recovery.