Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous tumor that develops only in the eighth cranial nerve. These tumors are formed when Schwann cells of the outermost layer of this nerve divide out of control. Its causes are not known. It usually affects people of the age of 30-60 years. It usually involves one ear. Its symptoms develop gradually when the tumor is large enough to cause impingement of the nerve. Its symptoms involve tinnitus, dizziness, and partial loss of hearing, headache, and many more. It is detected by audiometry, MRI scan, and CT scan. It is treated with surgery and radiation therapy.
Can Stress Cause Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor in Schwann cells of the outer layer of the eighth cranial nerve. It is also known as vestibular schwannoma. It grows invariably out of control in one of two nerves of the eighth cranial nerve. Usually, it affects one ear. Its growth is slow and may take years to develop. It does not develop in the brain. It may grow large that may compress the brain and neighboring cranial nerve. Then, it may disturb the functions of facial muscles and expressions and sensations.(1)
Acoustic neuroma is characterized by uncontrollable multiplication of Schwann cells. These cells are found around the nerve fibers whose main function is to form covering around the nerve fibers. These also support and act as insulation around the nerves. If these cells grow abnormally, then they will affect the function of hearing and balance. There are two types of acoustic neuroma, unilateral and bilateral neuroma. Unilateral neuroma affects one ear and usually caused due to the damage rendered to the nerve by environmental factors. Bilateral acoustic neuroma involves both the ears and is caused by a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis type 2.(4)
The exact causes of acoustic neuroma are not clear. In many cases, its causes are unidentified. According to some research studies, people with risk factors such as increasing age and family history of neurofibromatosis type 2 are more likely to develop an acoustic neuroma.(2)
Acoustic neuroma affects people in the age of 30-60 years.(4) Constant or regular exposure to loud noise such as work-related noise or loud music can cause the development of tumors on the nerve. If a person was exposed to radiation in the neck or face, then he acquires this tumor a few years later. (3) This is a sporadic form of acoustic neuroma. (1)There is no research study available that can prove the effects of stress on the development of this tumor. Stress does not cause an acoustic neuroma.
Does Acoustic Neuroma Run In Families?
All Acoustic neuromas do not run in families. Unilateral acoustic neuroma is not inherited. Bilateral acoustic neuromas affect both the ears and are inherited to the next generation. It is triggered by a genetic condition named neurofibromatosis type 2 can run in the families. It develops on both sides of the head. Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) causes interference with the functions of the brain and spinal cord. It involves many nerves at a time. It can also disturb the various functions of the body.(4) Its incidence is rare as it accounts for 5% of cases of acoustic neuroma.(1)
NF2 affects both auditory nerves leading to the development of an acoustic neuroma. Half of the individuals have inherited NF2 from their parents and half of them have developed a mutation in the genes. Each offspring of affected parents has 50 % chances of developing NF2.(2)
Acoustic neuroma is caused by a genetic disease named neurofibromatosis type 2 and environmental factors such as loud sound and exposure to the radiation in the head and neck. Stress cannot cause this condition. Only bilateral acoustic neuroma can run in families.
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