The night before, the patient-only identified by her last name Chen-heard ringing in her ears and vomited.
Doctor Lin believes fatigue and the added stress of long days may have contributed to the condition, which caused a loss of sensitivity to deeper sounds, and which only allowed her to hear sharper, higher-frequency sounds - such as the voices of women.
"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,"' said Dr Xiaoqing.
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Chen was subsequently diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat specialist with a condition called reverse-slope hearing loss, or RSHL. In a thread on Twitter, a user named Nayook shared the experience of living with the condition - which she said isn't very fun after all.
"Sensorineural hearing loss" can result in a low frequency hearing loss - a type caused by inner ear hair cells getting damaged. And while that might seem enviable to some, the hearing loss could carry serious medical repercussions. In the US and Canada, specifically, the condition affects roughly 3,000 people. In reverse-sloping hearing loss, the shape of the audiogram runs in the opposite direction.
According to the Daily Mail, only 13,000 people are affected by this hearing condition in the world. This can put them in danger, as they may not hear low noises like oncoming cars. 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. That figure is expected to rise to over 900 million by 2050.
It has been linked to genetics and can be triggered by certain diseases (for example, Ménière's disease) and viral infections. 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.