What is acoustic
Acoustic neurinoma is a non-cancerous tumor that may develop from an
overproduction of Schwann cells that press on the hearing and balance
nerves in the inner ear. Schwann cells are cells that normally wrap around and support
nerve fibers. If the tumor becomes large, it can press on the facial nerve or brain
What are the symptoms of acoustic
The following are the most common symptoms for acoustic neurinoma, however,
individuals may experience symptoms differently.
When a neurinoma develops, it may cause any/all of the following:
- hearing loss
- paralysis of a facial nerve
- life-threatening problems in the brain
The symptoms of acoustic neurinoma may resemble other conditions or medical problems.
Consult a physician for a diagnosis.
What are the different types of acoustic
There are two types of acoustic neurinomas:
The vestibular system:
- regulates locomotion and other movements
- provides conscious awareness of orientation in space
- provides conscious awareness of visual fixation in
Balance can be impaired by:
- altered gravity
- exposure to unusual motion
When balance is impaired, normal movement is
affected, as well as motivation, concentration, and memory.
An estimated 2 million adults suffer from chronic
dizziness or difficulty with balance. It particularly affects people aged 65 or older.
Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other
Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
- Unilateral acoustic neurinomas affect only one ear,
- account for 8 percent of all tumors inside the skull.
- may develop at any age, but most often occur between the ages of 30 and
- may be the result of gene damage caused by environmental factors.
- Bilateral acoustic neurinomas affect both ears, and:
- are hereditary, caused by a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis-2
- develop in the teens or early adulthood.
How are acoustic neurinomas diagnosed?
Because symptoms of acoustic neurinomas resemble other middle and inner ear
conditions, they may be difficult to diagnose. Preliminary diagnostic procedures include
ear examination and hearing test. Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) scans help to determine the location and size of the tumor.
Early diagnosis offers the best opportunity for successful treatment.
Treatment for acoustic neurinoma:
Specific treatment will be determined by the physician(s) based on:
- patients age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- expectations for the course of the disease
- patients tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- patients (or familys) opinion or preference
Treatment may include surgery to remove small acoustic
for larger tumors is complicated by the probable damage to hearing, balance, and facial
nerves. Another treatment option is radiosurgery using carefully focused radiation to
reduce the size or limit the growth of the tumor.