How Common Is Acoustic Neuroma Or Is It A Rare Disease?
Acoustic Neuroma is a rare benign (non-cancerous) tumor that typically arises from the vestibular portion of the eighth cranial nerve. Acoustic Neuroma also referred to as vestibular schwannoma grows drastically due to the multiplication of Schwann cells which is wrapped around the nerve fibers. These nerves are mostly located in the inner ear of the brain and responsible for hearing.
This is the most common tumor of the cerebellopontine angle and the common symptoms associated with this are tinnitus, hearing loss, loss of balance and vertigo problems. The symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma usually arise due to the tumor pressing the eighth cranial nerve and inhibiting its potency to transfer the signal to the brain that you need to hear a sound. One of the good thing about this disorder is, they are benign and does not spread to other parts of the body, unlike other tumors.1
Classification Of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma is often classified based on their sizes as small, medium and large however when you have to classify based on their type, it is classified into two main types
Unilateral Acoustic Neuromas- This is the most common condition of the acoustic neuroma and can develop at any age often caused by environmental factors. However, it affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Skull based program (a multi-disciplinary program) offers comprehensive management in the treatment of this disorder.
Bilateral Acoustic Neuromas- This condition occurs as a result of neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2), a genetic abnormality that can develop at any age. Bilateral vestibular schwannomas affect both hearing nerves usually developing in late childhood or early adulthood, frequently associated with other brain and spinal cord tumors.
The purpose of the classification of acoustic neuroma is to allow the doctor to conduct clinical trials on these types and compare their results in determining the treatment type and the survival rate. With the advancement in the medical industry, there is no doubt that the diagnosis of this condition has a greater frequency than before.2
Signs And Symptoms Of Acoustic Neuromas
Individuals may often wonder what are the signs and symptoms of this disorder. These are the most common symptoms of acoustic neuroma
Hearing Loss– Medical studies states that on an average over 90 percent of patients infected with acoustic neuroma, the foremost symptom they encounter is the difficulty in hearing or hearing loss either in one of the ears or both the ears. This is often noticed by a decreased capacity to hear people talking especially when you are communicating through a medium (telephonic conversations). In this condition, the hearing loss is generally accompanied by ringing sound in the ear, typically referred to as tinnitus. Usually, the hearing loss is subtle in the beginning but slowly advances to complete hearing loss. However, in some cases, there is a sudden hearing loss.
Tinnitus – Patients diagnosed with unilateral sporadic vestibular schwannoma are likely to experience tinnitus problems. Clinical trials were conducted on patients on varied age groups and the results proved that there is an increased tinnitus severity in older patients and patients with canal pareses
Dizziness– Vertigo is the most debilitating and distressing symptom with respect to health-related quality of life. However, it is one of the most common symptoms of acoustic neuroma patients. It can cause dizziness in patients.
Loss Of balance– This condition is more prevalent than the dizziness problem. Major patients have been reported with this problem and imbalances are more severe when the tumor size is large.3. 4
Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous tumor of the cerebellopontine angle with presenting several symptoms. In a small sub-category of cancers, acoustic neuromas occur as part of a rare disorder known as neurofibromatosis type II affecting both ears at the same time.
- Overview of Acoustic Neuroma https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/specialty_areas/otology/conditions/acoustic-neuroma/index.html
- Classification of Acoustic Neuromas https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/600231
- Symptoms of acoustic neuroma https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186184.php
- Some common symptoms of acoustic neuroma https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/a/acoustic-neuroma.html
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