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‘I went for a check-up at audiologist and they found life-threatening stroke risk’

A man who narrowly avoided a stroke due to an inflamed eye artery has said thank you to an audiologist for spotting the warning signs.

Pete, 55, of Ely, a regular client at angli-EAR Hearing, visited the Great Shelford clinic for a routine hearing check-up with audiologist, Nadia Abbott.

Nadia Abbott, an audiologist at angli-EAR Hearing
Nadia Abbott, an audiologist at angli-EAR Hearing

Pete noticed the model of the ear that was sitting on Nadia’s desk in the consultation room.

“I asked Nadia how close the main artery and vein is to the ear and enquired if that’s why I clearly hear the ‘swoosh-swoosh’ noise of my heartbeat,” said Pete.

Nadia explained that it can cause that sound and, if it is loud, as it was in Pete’s cases, that can be a sign of high blood pressure.

“It made me think,” said Pete. “So, when I got home, I took my own blood pressure reading and, sure enough, it had jumped considerably.”

Pete’s doctor prescribed blood pressure tablets, but the symptoms worsened.

“I had been getting bad right-hand side headaches and occasional blind spots in my right eye’s vision, together with the return of the sound of the loud swooshes noises in my ear,” Pete said. “I remembered what Nadia has said about the swooshes and returned to my GP.”

Further investigation showed that Pete’s worsening symptoms including a sore right-side temple and scalp was indicative of temporal arteritis – inflammation of the main eye artery.

Pete was told he was at serious risk of stroke and or blindness and was immediately put on medication. He was referred to Addenbrooke’s for further tests and is due to have a biopsy on the artery imminently.

“If I hadn’t made the connection with the importance of hearing the loud “swoosh’ sounds and Nadia’s comment, I’d have probably thought I was getting migraines and carried on regardless. Quite likely this would have resulted in a very different outcome. I can’t thank Nadia enough,” he said.

Pete shared his story for National Tinnitus Week.

Nadia explained: “Tinnitus is the term used to describe noises that may be heard in one or both ears in the absence of any external sound. People with tinnitus may hear sounds such as buzzing, humming, ringing, static, pulsing, whooshing, constant tone or clicking.

“One possible cause is stress and there are treatments that can have positive outcomes when this is the reason. However, tinnitus can also be the body’s way of telling you that something is very wrong, like in Pete’s case.

“If you suffer from tinnitus then don’t ignore it. Talk to a healthcare professional as soon as possible as some sounds can be indicative of blood vessel problems and even tumours or an aneurysm.”

To find out more about tinnitus visit the British Tinnitus Association https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/.

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