Learn About Acoustic Neuroma

What is the definition of Acoustic Neuroma?

An acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This nerve is called the vestibular cochlear nerve. It is behind the ear, right under the brain.

An acoustic neuroma is benign. This means that it does not spread to other parts of the body. However, it can damage several important nerves as it grows.

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What are the alternative names for Acoustic Neuroma?

Vestibular schwannoma; Tumor - acoustic; Cerebellopontine angle tumor; Angle tumor; Hearing loss - acoustic; Tinnitus - acoustic

What are the causes of Acoustic Neuroma?

Acoustic neuromas have been linked with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).

Acoustic neuromas are uncommon.

What are the symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma?

The symptoms vary, based on the size and location of the tumor. Because the tumor grows so slowly, symptoms most often start after age 30.

Common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo)
  • Hearing loss in the affected ear that makes it hard to hear conversations
  • Ringing (tinnitus) in the affected ear

Less common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness in the face or one ear
  • Pain in the face or one ear
  • Weakness of the face or facial asymmetry
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What are the current treatments for Acoustic Neuroma?

Treatment depends on the size and location of the tumor, your age, and your overall health. You and your provider must decide whether to watch the tumor without treatment, use radiation to stop it from growing, or try to remove it.

Many acoustic neuromas are small and grow very slowly. Small tumors with few or no symptoms may be watched for changes, especially in older people. Regular MRI scans will be done.

If not treated, some acoustic neuromas can:

  • Damage the nerves involved in hearing and balance
  • Place pressure on nearby brain tissue
  • Harm the nerves responsible for movement and feeling in the face
  • Lead to a buildup of fluid (hydrocephalus) in the brain (with very large tumors)

Removing an acoustic neuroma is more commonly done for:

  • Larger tumors
  • Tumors that are causing symptoms
  • Tumors that are growing quickly
  • Tumors that are pressing on the brain

Surgery or a type of radiation treatment is done to remove the tumor and prevent other nerve damage. Depending on the type of surgery performed, hearing can sometimes be preserved.

  • The surgical technique to remove an acoustic neuroma is called microsurgery. A special microscope and small, precise instruments are used. This technique offers a higher chance of cure.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery focuses high-powered x-rays on a small area. It is a form of radiation therapy, not a surgical procedure. It may be used to slow down or stop the growth of tumors that are hard to remove with surgery. It may also be done to treat people who are unable to have surgery, such as older adults or people who are very sick.

Removing an acoustic neuroma can damage nerves. This may cause loss of hearing or weakness in the face muscles. This damage is more likely to occur when the tumor is large.

Who are the top Acoustic Neuroma Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
15
conditions
Otolaryngology

University of California San Diego Health System

Regents Of The University Of California Ucsd Head And Neck Surgery

9350 Campus Point Dr 
La Jolla, CA 92037

Rick Friedman is an Otolaryngologist in La Jolla, California. Dr. Friedman has been practicing medicine for over 34 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acoustic Neuroma. He is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Schwannoma, Acoustic Neuroma, Hearing Loss, and Infant Hearing Loss. He is licensed to treat patients in California. Dr. Friedman is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
34
conditions
Neurosurgery
General Surgery

NYU Langone Health

NYC Health And Hospitals - Bellevue

462 1st Avenue 
New York, NY 10016

Douglas Kondziolka is a Neurosurgery specialist and a General Surgeon in New York, New York. Dr. Kondziolka has been practicing medicine for over 37 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acoustic Neuroma. He is also highly rated in 34 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Metastatic Brain Tumor, Schwannoma, Acoustic Neuroma, and Arteriovenous Malformation. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania and New York. Dr. Kondziolka is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
16
conditions
Neurosurgery
General Surgery

NYU Langone Health

NYC Health And Hospitals - Bellevue

462 1st Avenue 
New York, NY 10016

John Golfinos is a Neurosurgery specialist and a General Surgeon in New York, New York. Dr. Golfinos has been practicing medicine for over 34 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acoustic Neuroma. He is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Schwannoma, Acoustic Neuroma, Meningioma, and Pituitary Tumor. He is licensed to treat patients in New York. Dr. Golfinos is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Acoustic Neuroma?

An acoustic neuroma is not cancer. The tumor does not spread to other parts of the body. However, it may continue to grow and press on structures in the skull.

People with small, slow-growing tumors may not need treatment.

Hearing loss present before treatment is not likely to return after surgery or radiosurgery. In cases of smaller tumors, hearing loss that occurs after surgery may return.

Most people with small tumors will have no permanent weakness of the face after surgery. However, people with large tumors are more likely to have some permanent weakness of the face after surgery.

Signs of nerve damage such as loss of hearing or weakness of the face may be delayed after radiosurgery.

In most cases, brain surgery can completely remove the tumor.

When should I contact a medical professional for Acoustic Neuroma?

Call your provider if you have:

  • Hearing loss that is sudden or getting worse
  • Ringing in one ear
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
What are the latest Acoustic Neuroma Clinical Trials?
Exploratory Evaluation of AR-42 Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor in the Treatment of Vestibular Schwannoma and Meningioma
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Vertigo Symptoms, Balance and Vestibular Function in Patients With Vestibular Schwannoma
What are the Latest Advances for Acoustic Neuroma?
«Burr hole» microsurgery for vestibular schwannoma.
Stereotactic radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma: early and long-term radiation-induced changes and tumor growth control.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Gamma knife radiosurgery as an efficacious treatment for paediatric central nervous system tumours: a retrospective study of 61 neoplasms.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : April 13, 2020
Published By : Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Arriaga MA, Brackmann DE. Neoplasms of the posterior fossa. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 179.

DeAngelis LM. Tumors of the central nervous system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 180.

Wang X, Mack SC, Taylor MD. Genetics of pediatric brain tumors. In: Winn HR, ed. Youmans and Winn Neurological Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 205.