Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma, also called vestibular schwannoma, is a rare, non-cancerous tumor that develops on the eighth cranial nerve.  This nerve runs from the inner ear to the brain and is responsible for hearing and balance (equilibrium). Acoustic neuroma symptoms vary, but in 90 percent of cases, hearing loss in one ear (unilateral) is the first symptom.

Acoustic Neuroma: What You Need to Know

Teamwork

Acoustic neuroma is best managed by specialists such as radiologists, neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists (surgeons who specialize in disorders of the ears, nose and throat – also known as ENTs). At Fletcher Allen, our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.

Technology

Our team uses the latest technology and minimally invasive procedures when possible to treat acoustic neuroma. You will benefit from our Otolaryngology Clinic, where we manage ear, nose and throat conditions with a multidisciplinary approach. We offer stereotactic radiosurgery to treat acoustic neuroma, such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery, where doctors deliver radiation precisely to a tumor without making a single incision.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

As an academic medical center and health system, our team provides the most advanced care backed by research: we make all diagnostic and treatment recommendations based on the latest thinking in the field. In fact, advancing medical knowledge through research is one of our core missions.

  • Hearing loss, usually gradual, but it can be sudden, and mainly on one side
  • Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
  • Unsteadiness
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Facial numbness

The exact cause of acoustic neuroma is unknown, but a couple of factors may increase your risk of developing the condition, including:

What is Acoustic Neuroma?

Usually, acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor on the main nerve connecting your inner ear to your brain. Sometimes the tumor doesn't grow at all. In a few cases, although rare, it grows quickly becoming large enough to press against your brainstem, which can be life-threatening. Acoustic neuroma is not cancerous, and it does not spread to other parts of the body.

Branches of this nerve directly affect your balance and hearing, so pressure disrupts its ability to send nerve signals to the brain and can cause the following acoustic neuroma symptoms:

  • Hearing loss, usually gradual, but it can be sudden, and mainly on one side
  • Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
  • Unsteadiness
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Facial Numbers

The exact cause of acoustic neuroma is unknown, but a couple factors may increase your risk of developing the condition, including:

Diagnosis and Treatment: Acoustic Neuroma

Learn more about acoustic neuroma diagnosis and treatment.
Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-4535.