It’s like the opposite of the movie where Mel Gibson can suddenly hear women’s thoughts, right? And while that premise turned out to be enlightening, the lack of ability to hear men’s voices could perhaps seem – to some – like an unexpected gift.
The woman, who lives in China, can otherwise hear fine and women’s voices come through loud and clear.
She’s identified as Ms. Chen, and Daily Mail reports that she went to bed one evening feeling nauseated and experiencing ringing in her ears. When she woke up the next morning, she couldn’t hear her boyfriend talking.
Her ear, nose, and throat specialist, Dr. Lin Xiaoqing, diagnosed her condition:
“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.”
The doctor diagnosed Ms. Chen with “reverse-slope hearing loss,” which mean she is unable to hear low frequencies, like men’s voices. It affects about 1 in 13,000 patients with hearing issues and is thought to be caused by genetics, stress, or, more likely, a combination of both.
Ms. Chen told Dr. Xiaoqing that she’d been working late hours and not sleeping well – quite possibly because she was cleaning and cooking and looking after both herself and her boyfriend – so stress likely contributed to the emergence of the condition.
Since stress brought it on, Dr. Xiaoqing believes the hearing loss will reverse on its own, in time.
It might not be permanent, but only Ms. Chen can say for sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing.