Man who traveled to Boots for a simple hearing test received a devastating diagnosis


An elderly man explained how a Boots hearing test saved his life after leading to the early discovery of lymphoma in his nasal cavity.

John Newby, 72, initially thought he was losing his hearing in one ear – known as asymmetric hearing loss – and started having tinnitus, according to Hull Live.

Encouraged by his wife, Julie, the former BP online manager made an appointment for a consultation with Nicola Hassall at a Boots Hearingcare store in Hull in August 2020.

John said: “I got a call from Nicola and she said she would like to have a second test. It was a full test and from there she told me she thought it would be wise for me to go see my doctor.

“She wrote down the referral, passed on the test details, and I forwarded it to my doctor’s office. It was really the start of what was to come.

From there, John was referred to an otolaryngologist, a nose and throat specialist, in Castle Hill in November.

At this point, he was also showing symptoms of a sticky ear, a condition that occurs when the middle part of the ear fills with fluid and has nowhere to drain.

John was penciled for a biopsy and a CT scan towards the end of the month. The results of these tests were striking and he was told of the discovery of lymphoma in his nasal cavity a week before Christmas.

He said: “I was reassured that the diagnosis was curable – a risk, but being a reasonably fit and healthy man I should get a positive result. All was not gloomy.

“Because of the location of the lymphoma, it was impossible to operate on and instead I had to undergo two cycles of chemotherapy and one cycle of radiation therapy to get rid of it.

“The diagnosis, for many reasons, could not have come at a worse time. We were in the middle of another lockdown and Christmas was a week away. I didn’t tell anyone about it until the New Year.

John Newby and his wife Julie are all smiles after finding out he doesn’t have cancer.

“We also saw on the news how many people were put on waiting lists for diagnosis and treatment, I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have been seen so quickly.”

After discovering lymphoma before Christmas, John started chemotherapy on January 22, his 72nd birthday, and finished treatment in early June.

After three months of anxious wait, he got the go-ahead on September 10, putting an end to his 13-month ordeal.

John said: “The consultant told me they suspected it would not come back, but I will be watched. If it hadn’t been for the hearing test – if I had left it, as so many people do – what would have been the result? “

After having had time to reflect and thank those needed at the heart of his recovery, John had one final message for anyone who finds himself in a situation similar to what he did 13 months ago.

“If you have something wrong with your hearing, there are people out there waiting to help you,” John said.

“The best thing to do is just get it checked out. It is imperative. You only have your hearing once and as soon as it starts to deteriorate it can cause problems. As was the case with me, it showed that something completely different was going on than I expected.

“Finding my cancer saved my life and I cannot thank Nicola and the Boots Hearingcare team enough for the quick action they took to get me checked out. Without it, I might have found myself in a worse state of health.

Nicola Hassall, an audiologist with Boots Hearingcare for three and a half years, said: “I encourage everyone to have regular hearing check-ups to make sure they are taking care of their ears and hearing.

“I am glad that Mr Newby saw me when he did and that I was able to help and encourage him to see his GP.”

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