Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous tumor with a slow growth rate. It develops in the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. The branches of this nerve can directly affect hearing and balance. The pressure from the neuroma might result to unsteadiness, hearing loss and ringing in the ears.
It is important to note that acoustic neuroma grows slowly or does not grow at all. In a few cases, though, the tumor rapidly grows and becomes large enough to press against the brain. This can disrupt with the vital functions of the brain.
What are the indications of acoustic neuroma?
The indications of acoustic neuroma might include direct effect on the main nerve or by the compression on the neighboring nerves that are close to the brain structures or blood vessels.
In case the tumor grows, the symptoms might be evident. Nevertheless, the size of the tumor is not a basis for the effects that might manifest. Remember that there is a possibility that a small tumor can trigger significant symptoms.
The usual indications of acoustic neuroma include the following:
- Hearing loss which is gradual but it can be abrupt in some cases and occurs in either side or more prominent on one side
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Tinnitus in the affected ear
- Balance loss or unsteadiness
- Facial numbness or weakness
In rare cases, the tumor becomes large enough that is compresses the brain stem.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be consulted if the individual has hearing loss in any ear or difficulty with balance or even ringing in the ears. If the condition is diagnosed in its early stages, the growth of the tumor should be controlled so that serious consequences can be prevented such as complete hearing loss or accumulation of fluid in the skull.
What are the possible complications?
An individual with acoustic neuroma might end up with various complications that are permanent such as:
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ear
- Weakness and numbness of the face
- Balance issues