An acoustic neuroma is a rare benign, usually slow-growing tumour, which arises from the eighth cranial nerve. This cranial nerve helps you to hear and maintain your balance of posture. The tumour is not cancerous, but because it is located on a critical place, it can cause significant symptoms or even death by compression of important structures (such as cranial nerves and the brainstem) in the brain. Here are a few symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma that you must know:
Some Early Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma grows slowly on the eighth cranial nerve, which helps you to hear and maintain your balance of posture. There are a few symptoms of Acoustic neuroma, such as:
- Loss of hearing of high pitched noise in the affected ear, which is usually subtle in the beginning and worsens slowly (the person may find it difficult to hear conversations).
- Inaccurate perception of sound (such as difficulty in using the telephone).
- Tinnitus (ringing in the affected ear).
- Dizziness or vertigo.
- Difficulty in maintaining balance.
Most cases are not recognised in early stages as the symptoms are subtle and may not surface in the beginning stages of the growth. Furthermore, hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus are caused due to many middle and inner ear problems.
As the growth of the tumour increases, other symptoms of neuroma may develop. These include:
- Facial numbness: The tumour may affect the nerve responsible for sensation in the face (the trigeminal nerve), thereby, causing facial numbness.
- Facial weakness: The tumour may put pressure on the facial nerve (the nerve that connects the muscles of the face) and hence, result in facial weakness or paralysis on the side of the tumour.
Late Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
In the later stages, when the size of the tumour increases, it will press against neighbouring brain structures (such as the brainstem and the cerebellum). This can give rise to significant symptoms and can turn potentially life-threatening. Few late symptoms of acoustic neuroma include:
- Breathing problems.
Diagnosing Acoustic Neuroma or Another Condition: The signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma are not definitive. Many other middle and inner ear problems can cause similar symptoms. Prior to attributing your symptoms with acoustic neuroma, the doctor will try to rule out other conditions such as meningioma, meniere's disease, neuritis, atherosclerosis etc that have similar symptoms. If you have any of the above symptoms, consult your doctor for diagnosis and appropriate treatment immediately.
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