An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that develops on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. The tumor usually grows slowly. As it grows, it presses against the hearing and balance nerves. At first, you may have no symptoms or mild symptoms. They can include
- Loss of hearing on one side
- Ringing in ears
- Dizziness and balance problems
The tumor can also eventually cause numbness or paralysis of the face. If it grows large enough, it can press against the brain, becoming life-threatening.
Acoustic neuroma can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms are similar to those of middle ear problems. Ear exams, hearing tests, and scans can show if you have it.
If the tumor stays small, you may only need to have it checked regularly. If you do need treatment, surgery and radiation are options.
If the tumors affect both hearing nerves, it is often because of a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders
- Vestibular Schwannoma (Acoustic Neuroma) and Neurofibromatosis (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
- What Is an Acoustic Neuroma (Acoustic Neuroma Association)
- Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma (Acoustic Neuroma Association)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Acoustic Neuroma: Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor (Harvard Medical School)
- Computed Tomography (CT) -- Head (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Diagnosing Acoustic Neuroma (Acoustic Neuroma Association)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) -- Head (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Types of Post-Treatment Issues (Acoustic Neuroma Association)
Videos and Tutorials
- Acoustic Neuroma Educational Video (Acoustic Neuroma Association)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Neuroma, Acoustic (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- NIDCD Glossary (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
Find an Expert
- Directory of Organizations (Deafness and Communication Disorders) (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders