What is Acoustic Neuroma?
At the intersection of audiology and neurology lies a condition termed Acoustic Neuroma, also known as Vestibular Schwannoma. This is a benign (non-cancerous) growth that takes root on the eighth cranial nerve, a crucial nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain, responsible for both hearing and balance. Although benign, this tumor can have impactful consequences if not addressed.
Why Does Acoustic Neuroma Matter?
While Acoustic Neuroma is non-cancerous and doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, its growth can exert pressure on crucial neural structures, leading to symptoms and complications.
Symptoms to Watch For
Due to its gradual growth, symptoms might take time to manifest. They can range from hearing loss in one ear, persistent tinnitus (ringing in the ear), to issues with balance or vertigo. More advanced cases might experience facial numbness or coordination problems.
Prevention and Care
Awareness can guide timely diagnosis and intervention. Recognizing early signs and seeking medical advice can make all the difference.
Causes of Acoustic Neuroma
The exact origin of Acoustic Neuroma remains veiled in medical mystery. However, certain factors elevate the risk:
- Age Bracket: Predominantly, it affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60.
- Genetic Predisposition: While rare, familial cases of Acoustic Neuroma have been documented.
- Exposure to Radiation: High doses of radiation, especially near the ear, can be a contributing factor.
- Neurofibromatosis Type 2: This rare hereditary condition can lead to bilateral tumors.
Diagnosis of Acoustic Neuroma
If you or a loved one exhibits symptoms reminiscent of Acoustic Neuroma, a series of tests, such as hearing examinations, MRI scans, or CT scans, may be ordered. These can pinpoint the size, location, and dimensions of the tumor.
Treatment of Acoustic Neuroma
There are a number of treatments for acoustic neuroma. These include:
- Observation: Given their slow growth, smaller tumors might just be monitored.
- Radiation Therapy: This non-invasive approach targets the tumor with precision, halting or slowing its growth.
- Surgical Interventions: In cases where the tumor’s dimensions or location warrant it, surgical removal becomes the gold standard.
Awareness and early diagnosis of Acoustic Neuroma are crucial. While it’s a benign tumor, it can still lead to serious complications if left untreated, such as hearing loss or balance issues.
Trust the Experts at Regional Hearing and Balance Center
Do you have any more questions? The hearing care professionals at Regional Hearing and Balance Center would be happy to help. Contact us today to request your appointment with our hearing care professionals.