A woman in China suddenly developed an unusual condition that made her unable to hear male voices. And while that might seem enviable to some, the hearing loss could carry serious medical repercussions.
The woman, who is identified only by the surname Chen, visited a hospital after waking up one morning and being unable to hear her boyfriend’s voice, Newsweek reported yesterday (Jan. 10). Chen also told doctors that the night before, she experienced ringing in her ears (a condition known as tinnitus) followed by vomiting.
At the hospital, Chen was treated by Dr. Lin Xiaoqing — a woman — who noted that while Chen was able to hear Xiaoqing’s voice, she couldn’t hear the voice of a nearby male patient “at all,” according to Newsweek. Xiaoqing diagnosed Chen with reverse-slope hearing loss, a rare type of low-frequency hearing loss that likely impaired her ability to hear deep male voices.
Reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL) gets its name from the shape it produces in visualizations of hearing tests — a slope that is a mirror image of the incline produced by high-frequency hearing loss, according to audiology clinic Audiology HEARS, P.C., in Cumming, Georgia. It affects an estimated 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada — for every 12,000 people with hearing loss, only one individual has RSHL, the audiology clinic reported.
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