St. Petersburg Hearing Test Leads to Diagnosis of Brain Tumor

My receptionist told me, “You need to call your patient Mrs. L in St. Petersburg. She wants to tell you something important.” Mrs. L. came to see me several weeks earlier to discuss buying a hearing aid because she was just missing too much conversation.

Her hearing exam was somewhat unremarkable as it related to her history. She told me that she had had a left ear hearing loss for many years. Over a decade ago she thought that it had been evaluated by a physician. Her historically good right ear now had some mild hearing loss. My hearing test results confirmed her suspicions. She denied having vertigo (room spinning, dizziness), ear pain or noises in her ear but she had a vague complaint of occasional disequilibrium.

It would seem that based on her reported history that she could simply be fitted with hearing aids and be on her way to better hearing. In Florida a person can bypass a physician to buy hearing aids by signing a waiver. I did not offer a medical waiver to Mrs. L because I was suspicious that her historically worst hearing left ear may not have had a proper diagnosis. I told that I would fit her with aids after she consulted with an ear doctor.

“Hi Mrs. L. I was told that you wanted to talk to me.” I said when I returned her call. She sighed and then replied, “Thank you for sending me to the doctor before I bought hearing aids. They found a brain tumor on the left side and I am scheduled for radiation treatments.”

A proper exam is the most important element of shopping for hearing aids and on rare occasions it could save your life.

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