Nervous System Home > Causes of Acoustic Neuroma

What exactly causes acoustic neuroma is unknown. Certain risk factors -- such as age and a family history of neurofibromatosis type 2 -- may make a person more likely to develop this condition. However, people with risk factors do not always get acoustic neuroma, and people without risk factors can get it as well.

An Overview of Acoustic Neuroma Causes

No one knows the exact cause or causes of acoustic neuroma. Doctors cannot always explain why one person gets acoustic neuroma and another does not. However, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop acoustic neuroma. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.

Know the Risk Factors

While not an acoustic neuroma "cause," studies have found a couple of factors that may increase a person's risk of developing it. Specific risk factors for acoustic neuroma include:
  • Age
  • Family history of neurofibromatosis type 2.
Most people develop acoustic neuroma between the ages of 30 and 60. The average age at diagnosis is 50.
Neurofibromatosis Type 2
Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF-2) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by the development of acoustic neuromas on both auditory nerves. The disease is also characterized by the development of malignant central nervous system tumors. Half of all affected individuals have inherited neurofibromatosis from an affected parent, and half seem to have a mutation for the first time in their family. Each child of an affected parent has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disorder.

Causes of Acoustic Neuroma: Final Thoughts

People who have known risk factors for the condition do not always get acoustic neuroma. On the other hand, many who do get it have none of the risk factors for acoustic neuroma. Research scientists do not know the causes of acoustic neuroma, but they continue to search (see Acoustic Neuroma Gene).
People who think they may be at risk for acoustic neuroma should discuss this concern with their healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may suggest ways to reduce the risk and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups. People over age 60 are at highest risk and should get an ear exam at least every two years.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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