Humorous Ailment? Joking aside about a serious medical condition, the humor this case has evoked seems to point to a universal love conflict, where all couples or partners experience what might be called the best and worst of times in their relationship, with the scale hopefully moving downward on the best side. If "distance makes the heart grow fonder" and "familiarity breeds contempt", then hopefully most of us attempt to avoid distance while disproving the familiarity statement. It can be a slippery slope.
"Xiaoqing eventually diagnosed Chen with reverse-slope hearing loss, meaning she can only hear high frequencies. Doctors think it may have been brought on by stress." Could it be stress caused by her boyfriend?
One may wish for, desire (and if ultimately fortunate) find one's self in a relationship such that both partners purely, simply & endlessly enjoy their connection - 100% fine with being together even as much as 24/7/365...BUT:
This seems to be very, very rare.
By way of extreme contrast:
Sometimes one partner in the diametrical opposite sort of relationship 'checks out early', and when others consider such a full departure, many may be heard to say something like=> "S/he left this world JUST to finally get away from that other one, completely."
(And of course we may also consider those who have murdered their 'mate', unpleasant as that is...)
So, if simply -not hearing- the other somehow makes anything better - at least that is not so extreme as the more drastic options ?!?
I wonder how deaf couples argue and/or do not listen to one another? One maybe just turns away so as not to see what the other is saying. Body language is often just as important as speaking or hearing.
I like the way you find a small silver lining in things, E_T.
Actually this old man does have hearing loss with a side order of tinnitus to make life even more interesting.
Add to the above, a partner who tends to speak in almost whispers, knowing that I'm about 1/2 deaf & who insists upon speaking softly AND facing away from me while at a distance...yet still expects to miraculously be heard.
(I do my part though & repeat the gibberish version I heard, or simply remain silent until she turns & speaks up.)
Having known hearing deficiencies can be a tiny bit advantageous...at times, when it comes to the enjoyment of P&Q.