A Chinese patient woke up in the morning having lost part of her hearing. She did not understand what her boyfriend was saying but still heard female voices. She had lost hearing on low frequencies – a rare disorder known as “Reverse-Slope hearing loss.”
Generally, as we grow, we lose hearing in the treble. But here it is the opposite that happened to Ms. Chen, a Chinese patient whose extraordinary case is reported by the Daily Mail.
Ms. Chen lives in Xiamen City, on the southeast coast of China. One night she went to bed and the next day she could not hear her boyfriend’s voice.
To understand what was happening to her, Ms. Chen went to the hospital where the doctors found that she had lost hearing in the low frequencies.
The ENT physician who examined her was diagnosed with a rare condition, an inverted-slope hearing loss, or low-frequency hearing loss.
Dr. Lin Xiaoqing explained in the press that the patient understood what a woman’s voice was saying but not that of a man.
“She could hear me when I spoke to her, but when a young patient came in, she could not hear it anymore.”He said.
A rare hearing loss, possibly related to stress.
Generally, when performing an audiogram, people who lose auditory abilities have a downward slope with a loss of hearing in the high frequencies.
But in cases of low-frequency hearing loss, the audiogram shows a rising curve and the slope is reversed. According to an American hearing center, only one in 12,000 people with a hearing problem would be affected by this reverse-slope hearing loss.
The patient had worked late in the period before the onset of her symptoms she had run out of sleep. The accumulation of fatigue and stress over several days may have contributed to her developing this rare disorder.
However, there are other causes of low-frequency hearing loss too. In 2012, a student from the University of Lorraine reported on this disease. She explains that the main known reasons for reverse-slope hearing loss are Meniere’s disease and genetic mutations.
Meniere’s disease affects the inner ear and it results in tinnitus, vertigo and hearing problems. Mutations in two genes may also contribute to reverse-slope hearing loss DIAPH1 and WFS1, the latter gene being implicated in Wolfram syndrome.
This Wolfram syndrome also called as DIDMOAD, is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by diabetes, deafness in the high or low frequencies, and atrophy of the optic nerve.