Table of Contents

Acoustic Neuroma

What is acoustic neuroma?

Also referred to as vestibular schwannoma, acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that forms on the vestibular nerve. This is the main nerve that connects the brain to the inner ear. In most cases, these tumors are slow-growing, but in rare circumstances, the tumor grows quickly and can interfere with necessary functions. 

What are the symptoms of acoustic neuroma?

Symptoms of this tumor may take a long time to progress and become noticeable. The most common symptoms are:

  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
    • It is typically progressive over a long time
  • Numbness and weakness in the face

In extremely rare cases, the tumor grows to be large enough that it presses on the brainstem and becomes possibly fatal. Other possible complications include balance difficulties and hearing loss.

What causes acoustic neuroma?

While medical professionals are aware that an issue with a gene on chromosome 22 is responsible for acoustic neuroma, they do not what causes this issue. When functioning normally, this gene suppresses tumors, but this is not the case in affected individuals. Their Schwann cells grow uncontrollably and form tumors. 

They have also identified a risk factor, which is neurofibromatosis type 2.

How is acoustic neuroma diagnosed?

A physical exam, including an ear exam, is the first step in diagnosis. Next is an audiometry, which is often followed by imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs. 

What are the treatments for acoustic neuroma?

Treatment for acoustic neuroma depends on a variety of factors, such as tumor size, patient health, the tumor’s growth, and symptom severity. Options are monitoring, surgical removal of the tumor, and radiation therapy. 

Where can I find out more about acoustic neuroma?

Acoustic Neuroma Articles