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.