Acoustic neuromas are benign tumors of the nerves of the inner ear that are involved with balance and hearing. These slow-growing tumors come from an overproduction of the cells that normally wrap around nerve fibers to help support and insulate them. Early symptoms include ringing in the ear, dizziness, and loss of balance. Treatment for this type of tumor can include surgical removal, radiation, or watchful waiting.
What Are Acoustic Neuromas?Acoustic neuromas are benign, usually slow-growing tumors that develop from certain nerves in the inner ear. No one knows the exact cause or causes of acoustic neuromas. As an acoustic neuroma grows, it presses against the nerves associated with hearing and balance, resulting in the common symptoms of hearing loss, ringing in the ear, dizziness, or loss of balance. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, the doctor can describe the available treatment options.
What Causes Them?The exact causes of acoustic neuroma are unknown. However, certain risk factors -- such as age and a family history of neurofibromatosis type 2 -- may make a person more likely to develop this condition.
Symptoms of Acoustic NeuromasEarly symptoms of acoustic neuromas can include:
- One-sided or high-tone hearing loss
- Ringing in the ear
- Loss of balance
- Other symptoms.
However, these are common symptoms of many middle- and inner-ear problems. Some acoustic neuroma symptoms that can appear later include:
- Breathing problems.
Anyone with these possible signs and symptoms of acoustic neuromas should see their doctor.