- Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous tumor that develops on the eighth cranial nerve, a nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.
- This condition is relatively uncommon; fewer than 20,000 cases occur in the United States each year.
- The team at AOC explains the causes, symptoms, and treatments for acoustic neuroma.
What is Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a benign brain tumor that develops on the vestibulocochlear nerve, which influences balance and hearing. Like many benign tumors, acoustic neuroma typically grows slowly and has a border that can be seen clearly on CT or MRI brain scans.
Once diagnosed, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may suggest monitoring the tumor to avoid radiation or surgical removal. However, as this particular brain tumor grows, it can press against vital nerves that control hearing and balance functions.
Over time, pressure from the acoustic neuroma may lead to the following symptoms:
- Gradual or sudden hearing loss
- Ringing in the affected ear (tinnitus)
- Dizziness (vertigo)
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Facial numbness
Patients should make an appointment with an AOC physician as soon as they experience ringing in the ear or hearing loss. Although these symptoms could indicate a different condition, it’s best to seek an early diagnosis to rule out the possibility of acoustic neuroma.
After much research, scientists believe acoustic neuroma is the result of a malfunctioning gene on chromosome 22. The gene is usually inherited from a rare disorder called neurofibromatosis type 2. This condition can cause benign tumors to grow on both sides of the head.
As mentioned previously, the first treatment approach for these tumors, when caught early, may be close and consistent monitoring. If the tumor isn’t exhibiting any problematic symptoms and it isn’t growing at a rapid pace, patients may be able to avoid radiation therapy or surgery. If this is the case, patients may be subject to frequent hearing and imaging tests to make sure the tumor has not grown.
On the other hand, if symptoms are apparent and affecting overall quality of life, patients may benefit from radiation therapy to reduce the size of the tumor. If radiation therapy fails to produce desired results, surgical removal will be considered. The ENT doctors at AOC will discuss your options with you in detail. If you’re experiencing any hearing or balance problems, call AOC today to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians!
Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.