Also known as a vestibular schwannoma or neurilemmoma, an acoustic neuroma is a tumor of the eighth crania nerve - nerve that connects the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that are more common in women than men.
Acoustic neuromas are one of the most common types of brain tumors. They are slow-growing tumors that often do not evince symptoms until the age of 30 or later.
What causes acoustic neuroma?
Acoustic neuromas are most likely genetic in origin. The gene the body produces that prevent tumors from forming is defective. Researchers have not yet determined the cause of the gene defect that leads to acoustic neuroma.
Acoustic neuroma symptoms depend on tumor location and size. General symptoms for metastatic brain tumors include:
- Loss of hearing or ringing in the affected ear
- Vertigo (dizziness or abnormal sense for movement)
Acoustic Neuroma Treatment
As acoustic neuroma tumors grow very slowly, treatment often involves close observation of the tumor to monitor its growth. Intervention can take the form of radiation therapy, which represents an attempt to shrink the tumor to manageable size, or surgery, with a goal of removing the entire tumor.