How a hearing test referral led to the uncovering of a ‘one in 10,000 chance’ tumour

"During quick check-up appointments, these types of things can be missed."

Boots Hearingcare audiologist Ishvaree Sharma

A local resident has discovered she a tumour growing in her ear after a hearing test at Boots.


The benign tumour had a 'one in 10,000' chance of being cancerous.


Carole, 74, who saw a Boots Hearingcare audiologist in Market Harborough, wasn't concerned at first about the 10mm tumour growing in her left ear canal.


She said: "I was seen by Ishvaree Sharma, an audiologist in Market Harborough, she told me that my hearing in my left ear was deteriorating and immediately wanted to refer me.


“I didn’t think a great deal about it, to be honest - I thought it was just a routine referral."


Carole has been living with a perforated eardrum and has been wearing hearing aids for the last 10 years, aware that her hearing was naturally degrading.


“I had just gotten used to it,” she added. “Initially, I had a telephone consultation to discuss the history of my hearing, and a routine MRI scan was proposed. I was told it was a one in 10,000 chance that it would detect anything untoward.


“I wasn’t worried or concerned about the scan in any way. However, two weeks after the scan had taken place, I had a phone call from the consultant to say that a tumour had been discovered on one of the nerves.


“When you get told that it is a one in 10,000 chance, you think it can’t possibly be me. It came as a shock when I was told the news, but it was a huge relief to know that it wasn’t cancerous.”


Upon receiving the diagnosis, Carole was referred to a specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where the next steps on how to deal with the benign tumour will be discussed and whether or not it is growing. Her next appointment is pencilled in for the end of May.


As for how long the tumour has been in Carole’s ear, the answer is unknown. She has received regular hearing tests over the last five years, but after visiting Ishvaree in Market Harborough three times in as many months towards the end of 2020, it became clear that her hearing was degrading rapidly.


Ishvaree, the Boots Hearingcare Audiologist of 12 years and a former Senior Paediatric Audiologist with the NHS whose referral led to the discovery of the benign tumour, said: “Thankfully, it’s not something that we come across regularly but I could see through our audiograms huge declines over a short period of time. That’s what happened with Carole. Her hearing had changed significantly from one test to another.


“In such a case, we have a duty of care and the best course to take is a referral. Thankfully, in most cases, it is nothing sinister, but sometimes you can get surprises like this, surprises that otherwise would get missed.”


She added: “Highlighting the importance of personalised professional care is huge. During quick check-up appointments, these types of things can be missed. When someone you know or a loved one is concerned about their hearing, it is best to get it checked out rather than leave it. During my years of experience, these types of situations do occur.”