Women Develops Rare Condition That Leaves Her Unable To Hear Men

Ben Davidson
January 12, 2019

After Dr. Lin Xiaoqing checked out her symptoms, she was able to identify that she could not hear deeper voices due to their lower frequencies.

The patient, who lives in the city of Xiamen in southeastern China, had also experienced ringing in her ears and vomiting the night before the incident. She knew something wasn't quite right when she woke up one morning to find she couldn't hear a word her boyfriend was saying. The female doctor who treated Chen said that she was able to hear her without any problem but she was unable to hear aything which was said by a young male patient.

She added that she believes the recent stress and exhaustion Ms Chen had been under could have contributed to the condition. This explains why hearing loss more often affects our ability to hear higher-pitched sounds than lower-pitched ones, she said.

Any damage to the cells can impact a person's hearing because the hair cells make the sound travel from the outer ear to the brain.

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High-frequency hearing loss, where sufferers are unable to hear the voices of women or children, is more common.

In North America, only about 3,000 people are diagnosed with this super-rare condition. In this condition, the plot of the audiogram runs from the upper-left-hand corner of the graph and travels downwards like a ski-slope.

What is reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL)? Instead of waking up with a newfound ability to hear women's thoughts, à la Mel Gibson (or Taraji P. Henson for 2019's gender-switch take on the film), you wake up having lost the ability to hear men, full stop. This can be caused by general anesthetic, a perilymphatic fistula (an abnormal opening in the ear), and intracranial hypertension, caused by pressure in the central nervous system. A range of factors can cause hearing loss, including hereditary diseases, infections, certain drugs, aging, and exposure to loud noises.

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