Acoustic Neuroma: Should You Be Concerned?

learn more about acoustic neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a benign brain tumor. This isn’t a cancer, and there are many treatment options you can go for. But you should take the time to learn more about acoustic neuroma.

Causes

Acoustic neuroma (or vestibular schwannoma) grows on the nerves that connect your ears to the hearing center in your brain. This isn’t a cancerous growth, and so it usually develops very slowly.

The question of what causes this issue isn’t entirely clear yet. As we learn more about acoustic neuroma, we get closer to finding which genetic factors contribute to it. For example, scientists have found that your risk increases if you have neurofibromatosis type 2.

As the causes of this disorder are unclear, there are no prevention guidelines either.

How to Recognize It?

The main warning symptom of acoustic neuroma is hearing loss (or ringing) that only occurs in one ear. This is usually gradual.

The growing tumor can have some other effects as well. It causes dizziness and loss of balance. It can impact your facial nerves too. You may feel numbness in your face, or even a weakening of facial muscles.

Treatment Options

Having an acoustic neuroma can interfere with your everyday tasks. In rare cases, the tumor grows enough to impact other vital brain functions.

Doctors frequently use MRI as well as hearing tests to diagnose this issue. If they find a tumor, they will offer the following treatment options:

• Monitoring

Sometimes, your acoustic neuroma can be so small that it won’t cause any significant damage. In this case, the best thing to do is just monitor it, and only take steps if it shows signs of growing. You can get cochlear implants to make up for the hearing damage.

• Stereotactic Radiosurgery

This procedure uses radiation – such as gamma rays – to damage the tissue around the tumor. It’s less invasive than traditional surgery. Proton beams are can be used for this as well.

• Surgery

If your tumor is large, brain surgery can be your best bet. This option removes the problem entirely, but it can have complications.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing both hearing loss and vertigo, you might have this form of tumor. But there’s no need to panic. Do your best to learn more about acoustic neuroma, find experienced doctors who will find the best treatment options for you.