Acoustic Neuroma or Nerve Tumor: Causes, description, Treatment

Ear Nose | Oncology | Acoustic Neuroma or Nerve Tumor (Disease)

Acoustic Neuroma or Nerve Tumor: Description

An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous or benign and usually slow-growing tumor affecting the vestibulocochlear (acoustic) nerve, which connects the ear to the brain. Also known as vestibular schwannoma, acoustic neuroma is an uncommon cause of hearing loss.

The symptoms of an acoustic neuroma usually develop slowly, almost always affect only one ear, and may include: progressive hearing loss; ringing or buzzing noises in the ear, headache and pain in the ear, dizziness and a loss of balance. There are two types of acoustic neuroma: unilateral and bilateral. Unilateral acoustic neuromas affect only one ear. Symptoms may develop at any age but usually occur between the ages of 30 and 60 years. Bilateral acoustic neuromas, which affect both ears, are hereditary. Inherited from ones parents, this tumor results from a genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2).

Causes and Risk factors

Acoustic neuroma typically grows slowly or not at all, but in a few cases it may grow rapidly and become large enough to press against the brain and interfere with vital functions. The tumor results from an overproduction of Schwann cells, small sheet-like cells that normally wrap around nerve fibers like onion skin and help support the nerves. When growth is abnormally excessive, Schwann cells bunch together, pressing against the hearing and balance nerves, often causing gradual hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and dizziness.

Acoustic Neuroma or Nerve Tumor: Treatment and Diagnosis

There is several tests to diagnose your condition and exclude other conditions: audiometry, brainstem auditory evoked response, computerized tomography (CT) scan, electronystagmography (ENG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Treatment options for acoustic neuroma include regular monitoring, radiation and surgical removal

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