Acoustic neuroma

Vestibular schwannoma, neurofibromatosis type 2

What is acoustic neuroma?

An acoustic neuroma is a type of non-cancerous (benign) brain tumour.

A benign brain tumour grows slowly in the brain over many years and does not spread to other parts of the body.

What causes acoustic neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma is caused by benign tumour growth on the nerve used for hearing and balance. It should be noted that a benign tumour is not life threatening, but if left to grow very large they do cause discomfort and in serious cases they can create a build-up of fluid in the brain which can be life-threatening. However, it is rare for them to reach that stage.

In most cases many grow slowly and or not at all, with those that grow more quickly being treated before they become too big.

What are the symptoms of acoustic neuroma?

The most common symptoms of acoustic neuroma include:

  • Hearing loss, often only affecting one ear
  • Hearing sounds that come from inside the body (tinnitus)
  • The feeling that you are moving or spinning (vertigo)
  • A feeling of unsteadiness

Serious symptoms, often caused by a larger acoustic neuroma, can include:

• Persistent headaches
• Temporary blurred or double vision
• Pain, numbness or weakness on 1 side of the face
• Problems with limb coordination (ataxia) on one side of the body
• A croaky voice or difficulty swallowing

Acoustic neuromas are most common in adults aged 30 to 60.

There is usually no obvious cause; however, a small number of cases are due to a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). NF2 is a condition that causes tumours to grow along your nerves, like acoustic neuroma the tumours are usually benign.

Are you affected by acoustic neuroma?

If you’re affected by acoustic neuroma, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with acoustic neuroma, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy  and social activities to people with acoustic neuroma from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with acoustic neuroma

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with acoustic neuroma? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including acoustic neuroma, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity's public library has books and leaflets on acoustic neuroma and a wide range of other disability-related and neurological topics.

Visit our library to read:

Or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

Macmillan Cancer Support online community

Click here to join Macmillan’s online brain cancer forum.

British Acoustic Neuroma Association (BANA)

BANA run support group meetings throughout the UK for members, their families, friends and carers. Click here to find your local group.

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an acoustic neuroma support group, or do you already run one?

Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

British Acoustic Neuroma Association


Phone: 0800 652 3143