Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma)
Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) is a benign tumor of the hearing and balance nerve that usually causes progressive hearing loss in one ear. Although it is an uncommon condition, in experienced hands a good outcome can be expected in most cases.
Acoustic neuromas are among the most common brain tumors. Nevertheless, their incidence is low, about 1 in 100,000, according to the National Cancer Institute. This works out to about 3,000 new cases of acoustic neuromas in the United States each year.
The vast majority of acoustic neuromas occur on their own, but a small number are inherited. With inherited neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), individuals usually develop acoustic neuromas early in life and in both ears. Individuals are also prone to meningiomas or other brain tumors and juvenile cataracts.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis and treatment of acoustic neuromas can be complex. Your choice of treatment depends on several factors:
- Size of the tumor
- Symptoms and their duration
- Your age and health
Complete microsurgical removal is the treatment of choice. Observation, stereotactic radiotherapy, and partial removal are used selectively.
The complication rate for treating acoustic neuroma is low. With smaller tumors, normal facial nerve function is preserved. When the tumor is small and you still have most of your hearing, hearing preservation is often successful.
We can help
U.S. News & World Report ranks The Mount Sinai Medical Center among the top 20 hospitals in the United States for the treatment of ear, nose, and throat disease. Our Hearing and Balance Center has considerable experience in treating acoustic neuroma. Please call our Hearing and Balance Center at 212-241-9410 to schedule an appointment.