An acoustic neuroma is also known as a vestibular schwannoma and is a rare benign tumor of the balance and hearing nerves that affects 5,000 people every year in the Untied States.
The location of the tumor is always on the eight cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear. This nerve is responsible for transmitting sound and balance information from your inner ear to your brain, which is why one of the most common symptoms of acoustic neuroma is imbalance, vertigo and pulsatile tinnitus.
Acoustic neuromas are usually slow growing, taking years to develop, and 95% of the time only occur on one side.
Unlike other types of tumors, acoustic neuromas don’t metastasize or spread to other parts of the brain or body. However, if the tumor grows large enough, it can push on the surface of the brainstem, but never grows into the brain tissue itself.
Acoustic Neuroma Symptoms
Symptoms of acoustic neuroma include single-sided hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo and a strange feeling of fullness in your ear.
Most patients investigate the possibility of them having an acoustic neuroma when they develop tinnitus, but because it is so rare, the chances are incredibly low.
While acoustic neuromas may be benign, the prognosis is that they can still cause havoc on your neurological functions and can be life threatening if they grow large enough to cause severe pressure on the cerebellum and brainstem.
Acoustic Neuroma Treatment
While surgery or radiation are treatment options, they are on the most invasive and harmful to the body, which is why audiologists typically recommend the over the counter medication Tinnitus Control coupled with observation first to see how much conditions improve for the patient before moving on to surgery and radiation.
Acoustic Neuroma Association
Additional information on the diagnosis and a support forum can be found on the Acoustic Neuroma Association website at https://www.anausa.org.