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There are several types of schwannoma tumors, including acoustic neuroma. Below are the symptoms of acoustic neuroma. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, our team can help.

What is acoustic neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma, also called a vestibular schwannoma, is a non-cancerous tumor that grows on the main nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain. It can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ears (called tinnitus), balance problems, and other symptoms. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to paralysis of facial muscles, difficulty speaking, and, in rare cases, it can cause fluid buildup that can compress the brainstem and become life-threatening.  

Fortunately, acoustic neuromas are usually slow growing and can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. With early detection and the treatment options available today, most people diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma respond well to treatment with few complications. However, hearing loss in the affected ear is common.   

Symptoms of acoustic neuroma

Due to the slow-growing nature of acoustic neuromas, symptoms may take months or even years to develop. The most common symptom is hearing loss in one ear, which occurs in approximately 90% of people with acoustic neuromas. Other acoustic neuroma symptoms could include:

  • Ringing in one ear
  • A feeling of fullness in one ear
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Loss of balance or coordination

It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by other more common health issues. However, if you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, especially if they worsen, seek medical attention.

Diagnosing acoustic neuroma

Your doctor may perform multiple tests to diagnose an acoustic neuroma, including:

  • A physical examination
  • Hearing tests
  • Imaging tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan, which can also determine a tumor’s location and size
  • An electronystagmogram, which tests balance and how well your eye and ear nerves are working

If you have undergone any of the above tests and need guidance on next steps or a second opinion based on your results, contact us today.

Causes of acoustic neuroma

The exact cause of acoustic neuroma is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a genetic mutation in the gene responsible for producing a tumor suppressor protein. In some cases, this gene mutation can be found in a family line, indicating that there may be an inherited risk factor.  

Other potential causes include exposure to ionizing radiation. However, this is not a factor in most people diagnosed with acoustic neuroma.  

Treatments for acoustic neuroma

If you have been diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, it is important to learn about the various treatments available given your circumstances. There are generally three treatment options:  

If your tumor is small and not growing or causing any symptoms, your doctor may recommend monitoring with no other active treatment. You should have regular check-ups with a specialist and MRI scans to ensure that the tumor is not growing, and that the treatment plan remains effective.

Surgery is a common treatment for acoustic neuroma. It is performed under general anesthesia and often involves removing the majority of the tumor or a portion of it, depending on its size and location. While there are risks to surgery, technological advancements have made this procedure safer and more successful than ever before, leading to a greater chance of a full recovery with minimal side effects. At the Advanced Neurosciences Center, we have innovative and highly advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques for the treatment of acoustic neuroma.

Radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that involves delivering high doses of radiation to the tumor while avoiding effects on healthy tissue. This prevents further growth and may shrink the size. This treatment is not generally recommended for younger patients or those with large tumors.

What to do after an acoustic neuroma diagnosis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, you’ll need a team of specialists who are experienced at providing innovative and compassionate care. The Advanced Neurosciences Center team offers holistic and patient-centered care for those suffering from rare neurological issues and can help you return to the life you love. From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, we’ve got you.  

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