Acoustic neuromas (also called vestibular schwannomas) are low-grade tumours of the nerve that connects the brain and ear (eighth cranial, or auditory, nerve). They start in the cells that make up the nerve sheath or protective covering around nerves (Schwann cells). These tumours are most commonly found at the base of the brain, where the auditory nerve enters the inner ear from the skull.
- Acoustic neuromas are found most often in people between the ages of 30 and 60 years.
- They occur twice as often in women.
- People with neurofibromatosis have an increased risk of developing acoustic neuroma.
- The most common symptom of acoustic neuroma is hearing loss in one ear.
Treatment options for acoustic neuroma may include:
- active surveillance
- Doctors closely watch the tumour with regular imaging tests.
- Treatment may begin when symptoms appear.
- Surgery is used to remove all of the tumour or as much of the tumour as possible.
- stereotactic radiosurgery
- Stereotactic radiosurgery may be used after surgery for small tumours that remain or tumours that progress.