Instead, the vast majority of people who have some type of hearing loss have what is called ski-slope hearing loss.
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.
Loss of hearing of lower-pitched sounds (which is what Chen experienced) is also less common because the bass-processing portion of the cochlea - a snail-shaped structure deep in the inner ear - is very well protected, said Jackie Clark, a clinical professor with the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, who also wasn't involved with Chen's case. The Thigpen Hearing Center, an audiology clinic in Tennessee, states that RHSL affects only about 3,000 people in the United States and Canada. Sudden hearing loss, Ménière's disease and viral infection are also identified as causes of RSHL. She knew something wasn't quite right when she woke up one morning to find she couldn't hear a word her boyfriend was saying.
"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". Treatment can involve high doses of steroids, but sometimes the condition goes away without any treatment whatsoever, she added. Hong Kong doctors have officially ruled that her loss of hearing is from "low-frequency hearing loss". It is hard to detect, as both patients and medical professionals are often unaware of the condition.
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Dr Lin diagnosed her with a condition known as "low-frequency hearing loss", after Chen said she had been working late recently, putting her body under stress and not getting enough sleep.
It can be caused by genetics, meaning people have never been able to hear lower sounds - such as the hum of a fridge.
She's expected to make a full recovery.