The conversations of life

Music to your ears? Woman develops rare condition – making her unable to hear men


Yes, we’re serious. The Chinese woman, known as Ms Chen, says she went to sleep one night feeling nauseous and with ringing in her ears. When she woke up, she couldn’t hear a word her boyfriend said (selective hearing at its finest?)

After a trip to the hospital, Ms Chen was diagnosed with a rare auditory condition called reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL), which leaves the patient unable to hear low-frequency sounds such as thunder, car motors, voices over the phone – and male voices.

“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,” ears, nose, and throat specialist Dr Lin Xiaoqing (a woman) said.

An unusual case

According to the Thigpen Hearing Center, around 3,000 people in the US and Canada suffer from the same condition.

RSHL can be genetic or caused by other ear-related conditions, but it can also come on suddenly like Ms Chen’s case.

The news led some women to joke on Twitter that they’d like to take a break from hearing men’s voices.

On a serious note though, doctors say Ms Chen should make a full recovery.

In the meantime, she can enjoy a world without ‘mansplaining’.

One of the comments on Twitter.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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