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What is acoustic neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma  (also known as vestibular schwannoma) is a noncancerous tumor that grows along the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve sends balance and sound information to the brain.

Acoustic neuroma tends to grow slowly and does not spread to other parts of the body. However, it can lead to balance and hearing problems when it grows large enough to place pressure on the vestibulocochlear nerve. If the tumor places pressure on the brain stem or cerebellum, it can be life-threatening.

- Symptoms

Signs of acoustic neuroma can include:

  • Facial numbness, paralysis or weakness
  • Balance problems
  • Ringing in one ear (tinnitus)
  • Hearing loss in one ear
  • Dizziness (vertigo)

- Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of acoustic neuroma resemble other health problems, it's important to see a doctor for an official diagnosis.

Hearing and imaging tests are typically done to diagnose acoustic neuroma.

- Treatment

Treatment for acoustic neuroma depends on:

  • Its size
  • Your age
  • Your general health

If you don't have symptoms, your physician may recommend monitoring the tumor with imaging and hearing tests.

CyberKnife and Gamma Knife radiosurgery may be necessary to remove the tumor if it:

  • Becomes large
  • Is fast-growing
  • Causes symptoms
  • Is pressuring the brain

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