Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that grows on the nerve of balance
Ringing (tinnitus) can be the only symptom when the tumor is small. However, as it gets larger, some balance problems will occur. Hearing progressively deteriorates as the tumor gets larger. Later, the patient will have numbness in the side of the face, more balance problems, and sometimes trouble swallowing.
Patients with hearing loss and ringing in one ear should undergo Auditory Brainstem Testing (ABR) that monitors the conduction of the sound through the nerve of hearing, which can detect early pressure on the nerve. However, the definite diagnosis can be obtained with a MRI.
There are several modalities in treating acoustic neuromas:
1) Observation: In older patients, patients with health problems, and in small tumors, the lesion can be observed with interval MRI’s, especially since this tumor is slow growing.
2) Surgery: There are several approaches to remove the tumor. Any technique poses some risk since the tumor is inside the skull and is surrounded with several important structures and nerves, such as the facial nerve and the cochlear nerve. The surgeon must be an experienced one and perform this kind of surgery routinely. In small tumors, an attempt should be made to preserve the hearing. In every case, the preservation of the facial nerve is important.
3) Radiation: Radiation using the gamma knife is performed in only a few centers and carries some risk of damage to the adjacent tissues from radiation.
For additional information or to make an appointment, please contact River Cities Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, P.L.L.C. at (304) 522-8800 or (800) 955-3277.
B. Joseph Touma, M.D.
Touma Ear and Balance Center
1616 13th Avenue, Suite 100
Huntington, WV 25701
304.522.8800 or 800.955.3277