Skip to content

    Brain & Nervous System Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Acoustic Neuroma

    An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous growth that develops on the eighth cranial nerve. Also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve, it connects the inner ear with the brain and has two different parts. One part is involved in transmitting sound; the other helps send balance information from the inner ear to the brain.

    Acoustic neuromas -- sometimes called vestibular schwannomas or neurolemmomas -- usually grow slowly over a period of years. Although they do not actually invade the brain, they can push on it as they grow. Larger tumors can press on nearby cranial nerves that control the muscles of facial expression and sensation. If tumors become large enough to press on the brain stem or cerebellum, they can be deadly.

    Recommended Related to Brain & Nervous System

    General Information About Adult Brain Tumors

    An adult brain tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain. There are many types of brain and spinal cord tumors. The tumors are formed by the abnormal growth of cells and may begin in different parts of the brain or spinal cord. Together, the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). The tumors may be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer): Benign brain and spinal cord tumors grow and press on nearby areas of the brain. They...

    Read the General Information About Adult Brain Tumors article > >

    Acoustic Neuroma Symptoms

    The early symptoms of an acoustic neuroma are often subtle. Many people attribute the symptoms to normal changes of aging, so it may be a while before the condition is diagnosed.

    The first symptom is usually a gradual loss of hearing in one ear, often accompanied by ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or a feeling of fullness in the ear. Less commonly, acoustic neuromas may cause sudden hearing loss.

    Other symptoms, which may occur over time, include:

    • Problems with balance
    • Vertigo (feeling like the world is spinning)
    • Facial numbness and tingling, which may be constant or come and go
    • Facial weakness
    • Taste changes
    • Difficulty swallowing and hoarseness
    • Headaches
    • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
    • Confusion

    It's important to see your doctor if you experience these symptoms. Symptoms like clumsiness and mental confusion can signal a serious problem that requires urgent treatment.

    Acoustic Neuroma Causes

    There are two types of acoustic neuroma: a sporadic form and a form associated with a syndrome called neurofibromatosis type II (NF2). NF2 is an inherited disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors in the nervous system. Acoustic neuromas are the most common of these tumors and often occur in both ears by age 30.

    NF2 is a rare disorder. It accounts for only 5% of acoustic neuromas. This means the vast majority are the sporadic form. Doctors aren't certain what causes the sporadic form. One known risk factor for acoustic neuroma is exposure to high doses of radiation, especially to the head and neck.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    senior woman with lost expression
    Know the early warning signs.
     
    woman in art gallery
    Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
    medical marijuana plant
    What is it used for?
     
    woman embracing dog
    Quiz
    boy hits soccer ball with head
    Slideshow
     
    red and white swirl
    Article
    marijuana plant
    ARTICLE
     
    brain illustration stroke
    Slideshow
    nerve damage
    Slideshow
     
    Alzheimers Overview
    Slideshow
    Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix
    Quiz