(Neurilemoma; Acoustic Schwannoma; Acoustic Neuroma)
A vestibular schwannoma is a tumor that grows on the 8th cranial nerve. This nerve runs from the brainstem to the ear. It plays a role in hearing and balance. It is not cancer, but it can cause problems with hearing and put pressure on the brainstem.
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This problem is caused by faulty genes. It is not known why this happens.
This problem is more common in people who are 50 to 55 years of age. Other things that may raise the risk are:
- A personal or family history of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)—a condition that causes tumors to grow on nerves
- Loud noise exposure
A vestibular schwannoma grows slowly. Problems start slowly and get worse over time. They may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your ears.
Images will be taken. This can be done with:
Treatment will depend on the size, location, and growth rate of the tumor. People with a tumor that is not causing problems may be monitored.
People with tumors that are causing problems may need:
The tumor may be removed through surgery. It may result in permanent hearing loss or facial paralysis.
Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill abnormal cells and shrink tumors. It may also stop the tumor from growing. It may be done when the tumor cannot be removed through surgery.
- Conventional fractioned radiation therapy given over several treatments or as one large dose
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) using a focused beam of radiation to destroy tumor tissue in and around the brain.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.
Acoustic Neuroma Association
American Academy of Audiology
Canadian Academy of Audiology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Acoustic neuroma. American Hearing Research Foundation. Available at: http://american-hearing.org/disorders/acoustic-neuroma. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Acoustic neuroma. VEDA website. Available at: http://vestibular.org/acoustic-neuroma. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Vestibular schwannoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/vestibular-schwannoma. Accessed July 16, 2021.
What is acoustic neuroma? Acoustic Neuroma Association website. Available at: https://www.anausa.org/learn-about-acoustic-neuroma/what-is-acoustic-neuroma. Accessed July 16, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 7/16/2021