(Neurilemoma; Vestibular Schwannoma; Acoustic Schwannoma)
DefinitionAn acoustic neuroma is a tumor that grows on the nerve leading from the brainstem to the ear. This nerve plays a role in hearing and in maintaining your balance. An acoustic neuroma grows slowly. It is a benign tumor, which means it is not cancerous. However, this condition can still cause serious problems.
|The Acoustic Nerve|
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CausesThe exact cause of acoustic neuroma is unknown.
Risk FactorsAcoustic neuroma is most common between ages 30-60. Factors that may increase your chance of acoustic neuroma include:
- History of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)
- Family history of NF2
- Long term exposure to loud sounds
SymptomsThe first symptoms of an acoustic neuroma include:
- Gradual hearing loss in one ear with near normal hearing in the other ear
- Decrease in sound discrimination, especially when talking on the telephone
- Ringing in the affected ear—tinnitus
- Balance problems
- Facial numbness and tingling
- Weakness of the facial muscles on the side of the tumor
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. Your ears will be examined. Tests of your nervous system will also be done.Images may be taken of your head. This can be done with:
- Auditory brainstem response test
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