Imagine having a legitimate reason for not hearing your partner say, "Tonight, you're on dishes."

This is the case for a woman from China, whose rare condition means she genuinely can no longer hear the voices of men. Women, however, are fine.

Known only by her surname, "Chen" was rushed to hospital after waking up one morning and realising she couldn't hear her boyfriend talking to her.

She was diagnosed with a specific type of hearing loss, her symptoms different to typical forms of hearing loss, claim local reports.


When she arrived at a hospital in the east coast city of Xiamen, an ear, nose and throat specialist was tasked with working out the cause of the woman's unusual situation.

It was eventually established that Chen has reverse-slope hearing loss, meaning she is unable to hear the sound of lower frequencies, namely, men's voices.

She said she had suffered from nausea and ringing in her ears the night before, and thought a good night's sleep would be the cure.

The rare condition is present in nearly 13,000 hearing loss patients, and stress can be a factor.

Dr Lin Xiaoqing treated Chen and told local sources when she arrived at the hospital she could hear everything the female specialist said.

"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."

Normally difficult to diagnose, it can often go unnoticed. But in Chen's case the problem soon became obvious.

The diagnosis was a type of hearing loss which means she can't hear lower frequencies. Photo / Getty Images
The diagnosis was a type of hearing loss which means she can't hear lower frequencies. Photo / Getty Images

Reverse-slope hearing loss can occur due to a lack of sleep or physical stress which Dr Xiaoqing believes is the case, but can also be due to genetics.


Chen said she'd been putting her body under a lot of pressure and not looking after herself recently.

That's right, perhaps your wife truly didn't hear you say it was her turn to make dinner tonight.

Dr Xiaoqing says if symptoms are treated quickly, a full recovery can be made. She expects this will be the case for Chen, meaning her reprieve from the male voice may be short lived.