Reports claim that the woman was suffering from nausea and ringing in her ears the night before she woke up with this conditon.
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.
At the hospital, Chen was treated by Dr. Lin Xiaoqing - a woman - who noted that while Chen was able to hear Xiaoqing's voice, she couldn't hear the voice of a nearby male patient "at all", according to Newsweek.
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"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", Xiaoqing said.
Treatment can involve high doses of steroids, but sometimes the condition goes away without any treatment whatsoever, she added.
Doctors said that stress could have contributed to the condition. It is a rare condition that affects only 3,000 people in the United States and Canada and has been linked with conditions such as Wolfram Syndrome and Mondini dysplasia. The symptoms of RSHL include difficulty understanding speech on the phone, understanding the voises of women and children but not men, and inability to hear low-frequency environmental sounds.
This condition is normally hard to diagnose because both medics and patients may be unaware it exists. In Chen's case, Dr. Xiaoqing believes that the fatigue and stress brought on by her long work hours may have triggered the problem.
It can be caused by genetics, meaning people have never been able to hear lower sounds - such as the hum of a fridge.
Chen said she'd been putting her body under a lot of pressure and not looking after herself recently. Indeed, autoimmune conditions in the inner ear can cause balance problems that may lead to vomiting - a symptom that Chen described to her doctor, Clark noted.
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