However, over time the tumour can cause gradual loss of hearing, ringing in the ear and dizziness. Because they grow slowly, not all
acoustic neuromas need treatment. But if they do, treatment options are drugs, surgery and radio surgery.
Common signs and symptoms of the prevalence of these tumours include:
- Loss of hearing, usually gradual. It may affect just one side or may be more pronounced on that side.
- Ringing, called tinnitus, in the affected ear
- Unsteadiness or loss of balance
- Facial numbness
- Weakness of muscle movement, though it is rare
After checking your and your family’s medical history, the physician will conduct a thorough physical examination.
This will be followed by one or more of the following tests:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test
As usual, treatment depends on the patient’s age and overall health, auditory status and the size of the tumour. Larger tumours pose complications; therefore early detection and treatment are crucial.
Different patients suffering from acoustic neuromas respond to different types of treatment. Hence, it is important to seek treatment at a medical institution that offers the full range of options beginning from surgery, radiosurgery and facial and auditory rehabilitation. A neurosurgeons, radiation oncologist and otologic surgeon constitute a team to treat acoustic neuromas.
Surgical intervention is a common treatment option for acoustic neuromas, particularly for large tumours. Complete removal of the tumour remains the primary goal of the surgery but it also carries risks. The priorities during surgery are to preserve facial nerve function and hearing function as far as possible. Hence, a probe stimulates and monitors the facial and auditory nerves and the brainstem before surgery.
The goal of surgery is complete or near-complete tumour removal. But since the growth of acoustic neuromas is slow, tiny remnants of the tumour may be left attached to vital nerves to avoid harming them. If these tumour remnants attempt to regrow, radiosurgery may used.