There are various conditions that may affect the sense of hearing. And one of which is the acoustic neuroma. Acoustic neuroma is actually a benign tumor that mainly affects the nerves that run through the inner ear through the brain. Furthermore, the nerves that are responsible for the hearing, as well as the balance, are barred from functioning properly, thus leading to tinnitus and loss of hearing. Truly, this condition is so discomforting. Hence, it’s better to know more about the causes, symptoms, as well as the treatments for acoustic neuroma. To know all of these and more, feel free to read on to this article.
What is Acoustic Neuroma?
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Acoustic neuroma is actually a non-cancerous growth, which develops on the eighth cranial nerve. This is also known as the vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear with the brain. Furthermore, it has two different parts, the one is transmitting sound, and the other helps in sending balance information from the inner ear to the brain.
It is also known as the neurolemmomas or vestibular schwannoma. Moreover, the branches of the vestibular nerve that gets affected because of the condition have branches of its own. And these branches directly influence the balance as well as the hearing. Not only that, the pressure that comes from the acoustic neuroma may also cause tinnitus or the ringing in the ear, unsteadiness, as well as hearing loss.
Usually, the condition arises from the Schwann cells, which covers the nerve. Furthermore, it also grows in slow motion or even not at all. In rare conditions, it may grow speedily and may become large enough to press touching the brain and interfere with the vital functions.
Even though they do not really invade the brain, they may still push on it as they continue to grow. The larger tumors may press on the nearby nerves, which controls the muscles of the facial sensation as well as the expression. Moreover, if the tumors get large and are already enough to press in to the cerebellum, then acoustic neuroma can be deadly.
Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
The early signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma are often elusive. A number of people attribute the signs to the normal changes of aging. Thus making it hard for the condition to get diagnosed.
Furthermore, the initial symptom of acoustic neuroma is commonly the gradual loss of hearing in one of the ears. This often comes with the ringing in the ear or the feeling of fullness. In a more rare case, the condition may cause sudden loss of hearing.
Some other symptoms of an acoustic neuroma include:
- Unsteadiness or clumsiness
- Hoarseness and difficulty in swallowing
- Taste changes
- Facial weakness
- Facial numbness as well as tingling which can be constant or may come and go
- The feeling like the world is spinning or vertigo
- Problems with balance
It is very important to see your doctor if you already have these symptoms. Furthermore, mental confusion, as well as clumsiness, may be an indication of more serious problems which may require urgent treatments.
Causes of Acoustic Neuroma
the exact cause of the condition is not yet clear even up to this date. In fact, according to a certain research, there is about 95 percent of the cases that have no known cause. However, there are some factors that may increase the risk of acoustic neuroma. These include:
- Radiation exposure: there is a small chance that the exposure to radiation on the neck and head during the childhood may increase the risk of the condition.
- The family history of neurofibromatosis: there are about 5% of people who have an acoustic neuroma that has the type 2 of it. If you have a family member that has already experienced it before, then there is a tendency that you may experience it as well.
- Age: most of the people who develop acoustic neuroma between the age of 30 and 60 years of age.
There are some studies that suggest acoustic neuroma may be related to the use of a cellphone or the long-term exposure to loud noises.
Treatments for Acoustic Neuroma
The treatments for acoustic neuroma, in fact, include surgical removal, radiation therapy, regular monitoring and more.
- MRI and monitoring: this is beneficial since there is some acoustic neuroma that does not grow. Thus, continuous monitoring is a must.
- Radiosurgery: it delivers radiation straight through the tumor. This is one of the best treatments for acoustic neuroma.
- Radiation therapy: this can be beneficial instead of the conventional surgical operation. Moreover, it is helpful in reducing the size of the tumor as well.
- Microsurgical removal: this involves the removal of the tumor by way of an incision in the skull.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery: in this particular treatment, the doctor can deliver radiation into the tumor without even cutting the skull of the patient.
With the proper treatments, care, and attention, the condition will vanish. Not only that, it is better to prevent the condition than to cure it when we have it already. So make sure to not harm yourself to the extent that you will acquire an illness like the acoustic neuroma.