Medical a big deal?


So I went to an Dr. of Audiology and he recommended I see an ENT.
He discussed the possibility of a cyst on the auditory nerve, etc.

My left side hearing loss is about 2 decades old.
I have had friends who have had the horrendous surgery due to pain.
I have none.

I decided to get a blind second opinion on the hearing aid recommendation he made.
I went to a different hearing clinic.
The person there did the test and started looking at me as if I were under a death sentence.
She would not make a recommendation until I saw an ENT.

No Pain. No symptoms past the hearing loss.
If my hearing can’t be restored in that ear, why be concerned about at all?
Anyone else had these experiences?



My first hearing test as an adult back in 2016, the guy saw a difference between air and bone and kinda stopped and said I should see if a doctor can diagnose anything. Nothing came of it and now I have HA’s.

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So you’ve got two professional opiniions to see an ENT and you’re coming here for advice? There’s a good chance it’s nothing to worry about, but it woud seem that seeing an ENT would be warranted.

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My audiologist took a look at my asymmetrical loss the first time around and told me she would not fit me until I saw an ENT for an MRI to check for an acoustic neuroma. A normally benign tumor. I was clear. But when I went in for a check and to order a new set of aids my WRS in my left ear had dropped 30% on the left side since Feb. While she said she would fit me for the new aid she wants to monitor the left and if it drops more over the next few months she said she would insist that I have another MRI. They are quite rare but my sister had one. It was growing at an unacceptable rate and had to have it removed via gamma knife surgery. That cost her most of her hearing in that ear.



See the ENT, but don’t worry too much.

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I often have friends and coworkers seeking advice on hearing aids. I always recommend seeing an ENT first. Better safe than sorry.



It’s what we’re here for. Rather they come here for advice than ignore the professional opinions altogether, which many are wont to do.



Thanks for the comments and MBD for being my mother.

Thanks Mark_Chambers for actually sharing a meaningful experience.

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BTW she had no pain at all. The only signs were reduced hearing and tinnitus on that side that was growing increasingly loud.



Please see the ENT and have an MRI if that’s what the ENT recommends. If you do have an acoustic neuroma it’s usually better to have it treated while it’s still small, if possible. I thought it was kind of silly to get an MRI, but I did, and they DID find an acoustic neuroma. I thought something like that would never happen to ME! I was wrong.



Hey ziploc are they going to take it out or just monitoring it? They watched my sister’s for a couple of years and left it alone until it started growing too quickly.



It was diagnosed in October 2016. It was just at the high end of what is considered a small AN. After a lot of research I decided on Gamma Knife and it was performed in April 2017.
Last month a follow-up MRI showed that it had shrunk to 30% of the size it had been before surgery. Apparently this result is quite remarkable and very good. I still have some usable hearing in the affected ear but it is weak and distorted, a bit like a car radio that is not quite tuned into the radio station. But it’s better than nothing. I feel very lucky and very grateful to the audiologist who sent me to the ENT in an “over abundance of caution” after a WRS score that was significantly worse than would be expected.



Ok. Let’s circle the wagons here.

The logic is that nothing has changed in 2 decades.
So as I read these posts, I don’t see the end game to all this.

I see that things were found. Some were getting worse. You would likely feel pain and discomfort eventually.

But no one here mentions a benefit to going through all this.

You still can’t hear and if there were issues that were ongoing, why no change in 2 decades?

If one has an unsightly mole, hidden from view, that is benign and does not change in 2 decades, the dermatologist does not remove it.

Fifty years ago, Uncle Ned would have just been hard of hearing on one side.
Where is the benefit?



Couple of reasons. When an AN is growing rapidly there will eventually be pain, your hearing will deteriorate quickly and though there is some damage done in removal the smaller it is the more likely that damage will be minimized. Furthermore, and though it is rare, there is always the possibility of malignancy.

But as I noted in the case of my sister as long as it was just sitting there and stable they didn’t touch it. Only when it started growing at an unacceptable rate.

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If you’re ok that you might have something growing in your head that could potentially kill you or cause other neurological damage, and wouldn’t want to do anything about it if you knew it was there, then there is no benefit. I admit that the odds of this are very low, but they are not zero, I don’t like scare tactics so I didn’t take this tact initially and mistakenly took a more paternalistic approach.



Just go to the ENT and have an MRI if advised to do so. It is a painless noninvasive test. I had one also when my earlier test showed asymmetry. Most turn out fine but if there is a problem at least you can get a considered opinion about what to do and good follow up.



My take is different. I’m not an MD.

I would have asked the second audi why she was looking at me as if I was under a death sentence and what it was she wanted the ENT to screen for. You can still call back and ask those two questions.

If it seems there is good reason for concern, then I say go to the ENT, but if the recommendation there is for an MRI, I’m not proceeding with it without getting some more answers to more questions, especially if you’re in the US and have no insurance, insurance with a high deductible you won’t meet, or there is pushback from the insurance company on doing the MRI, for which they may well require preauthorization and documentation for the reason. I’m asking the ENT: What are you looking for? Why do you think it may be there? What are the chances it’s there? How will treatment change if you find it?

The facts that: acoustic neuromas are considered uncommon to rare in rate of occurrence, and most are benign, your hearing is not changing, and you have no pain all make an aggressive acoustic neuroma unlikely in your case. Not impossible. Unlikely. The high cost (well into four digits) for an MRI, the overuse of MRIs (often done primarily to protect MDs from liability claims if something rare is missed, and also recommended by MDs in networks that have invested a lot in MRI technology and need to pay the bills, the fact that most MRI screenings turn up nothing that would benefit from treatment based on the MRI and also can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests which may cause medical harm at additional expense all suggest that if I go into the office of an ENT who is new-to-me and the first thing he or she wants to do is run an MRI, I’m going to question it.

Ultimately it’s your decision and your roll of the dice, either way. I don’t know your situation, and the audis’ concern may be warranted. I can live with some risk and don’t do MRIs as fishing expeditions for the benefit of health care providers.

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@hamjor1 makes some good points. I still recommend the ENT visit, but I agree that I wouldn’t be getting an MRI just for caution’s sake. If they want an MRI, they need to have good reason for it.



1st Audi I went to made no mention of the differences in my hearing test. The Audi I go to now, made mention and did a ABR test then I went to see the ENT before she would fit me. The test came back OK according to the ENT BUT he did say he could have me get an MRI BUT is having me have another hearing test @ 6mos/ 6mos and 1 year. If things change within any of those time frames he will have me get a MRI. He stated that he can have quite a few hearing tests done compared to an MRI price.

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Interesting. Your loss, as shown in your profile, would not have triggered a referral where I am.