This is not a joke, although it does sound like the plot of a silly romantic comedy. A woman from the city Xiamen recently woke up to find that she couldn’t hear any male voices, including that of her boyfriend, while still being able to hear female voices.

The woman, identified only as Chen, had ringing in her ears as well as nausea the night before. But things only got worse the following morning when she couldn’t hear her boyfriend’s voice. She was then rushed to a local hospital and it was found that she could hear the voice of her female specialist, Dr. Lin Xiaoqing, but still couldn’t hear other 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,” the doctor said.

The doctor soon diagnosed Chen with reverse-slope hearing loss, an extremely rare condition in which patients become unable to hear low-frequency sounds (like those of deeper male voices) while retaining the ability to hear higher-frequency sounds (like those of female voices). While high-frequency hearing loss is much more common in humans, with one in approximately 12,000-13,000 hearing loss sufferers the opposite happens.

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