What is an acoustic neuroma?

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Usually slow-growing, the acoustic neuroma tumor develops on the nerves the affect of balance and hearing. While it is noncancerous, this tumor can affect a person's hearing and balance abilities. In nearly all cases, these tumors affect only one side of the brain. However, some people develop acoustic neuromas that affect both sides, a rare condition known as neurofibromatosis type 2. This condition affects the nervous system and causes tumors to develop.

Physicians develop individualized treatment plans for each patient diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma. With a small tumor, doctors may recommend watchful waiting, and additional treatment may not be necessary. If the tumor increases in size and affects hearing, it may require full or partial removal to preserve hearing and facial nerve function.

Some patients with acoustic neuroma are candidates for Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery. The Gamma Knife delivers precise doses of radiation to destroy the tumor, without harming adjacent tissue or blood vessels. The Gamma Knife is a particularly beneficial alternative to traditional, open surgery for the treatment of acoustic neuroma.
David M. Vernick, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
A benign growth on the balance nerve in the inner ear, acoustic neuroma is the most common type of nerve tumor affecting this area. A study published in 2010 found that about one in 100,000 people per year develops an acoustic neuroma. It affects mostly Caucasian people and usually appears between the ages of 50 and 64. Acoustic neuroma usually makes itself known with hearing loss resulting from pressure on the auditory nerve. Although it is not malignant, an acoustic neuroma can cause serious problems or death if it becomes big enough to press on the brain. Treatment options include surgery or radiation. The decision over which option is best depends on the size of the tumor and the age of the patient. Most smaller tumors are just observed initially because many will never grow.
Eric E. Smouha, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that originates from the nerves of hearing and balance and grows in the space between the ear and the brain. It usually presents with hearing loss in one ear, but an MRI can discover smaller tumors before they cause any symptoms. Acoustic neuromas can be treated by surgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, or simply followed with serial MRIs. With proper treatment, the vast majority of our patients have had excellent outcomes.

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that arises from the nerves of hearing and balance and grows in the space between the ear and the brain. These tumors usually present with hearing loss in one ear, but with the advent of MRI scanning smaller tumors are discovered before they cause any symptoms. Acoustic neuromas can be treated by surgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, or can sometimes be simply followed with serial MRI. With proper treatment selection, the vast majority of patients have excellent outcomes.

An acoustic neuroma is a tumor of the eighth cranial nerve, which stretches from the brain to the inner ear. This nerve has two parts: one carries sound, and the other carries information about balance. Therefore, acoustic neuromas often affect hearing and balance. Acoustic neuromas are benign, or noncancerous, and they usually grow slowly. They may also be known as auditory nerve tumors, vestibular schwannomas, or eighth nerve tumors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.