How Dangerous Is Acoustic Neuroma & Is It Contagious?

An acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous, slow-growing tumor that develops in the nerves linking the brain to the inner ear. Although the name says acoustic, yet these tumors do not develop from the acoustic nerve. They are also known as vestibular schwannoma and neurinoma. The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining the balance and eye movements that includes the parts of the inner ear and brain.

It typically arises on the balance (vestibular) and hearing or auditory (cochlear) nerves often referred to as transition zones leading from your inner ear to the brain. In a nutshell, most schwannomas begin out as intracanalicular, and their growth condenses the nerve against the nerves of the brain and ear. Although they do not invade the brain, they can push on it as they grow.1

How Dangerous Is Acoustic Neuroma?

How Dangerous Is Acoustic Neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma is perhaps not a dangerous disorder if diagnosed early and properly treated. Conditions that are left untreated turn fatal. However, the diagnosis of this disorder has to be done in the initial stages to avoid complications. Nevertheless, diagnosis is still the weakest link in the chain of the acoustic neuroma disorder.

The condition turns dangerous and fatal when they are diagnosed after the tumor has advanced and the chances of recovery often look fragile. One of the major hurdle with an acoustic neuroma is, it doesn’t show symptoms in its early stages. There are some symptoms such as problems with hearing and unsteadiness but they are very subtle and are not solely specific to this brain tumor.

Even people who experience general symptoms such as tinnitus, headaches, and dizziness negate complaints and tend to play down. They often consider this may be the result of overworking, stress and anxiety and most commonly due to aging. Therefore, instead of visiting their health care provider, they choose options like massages or stick on to pain medications. So the neuroma grows and grows and the condition starts worsening requiring immediate attention. In the worst-case scenario, it may require surgery for the removal of the complete tumor.

What Can Be Done For This Condition?

To diagnose the symptoms of acoustic neuroma, there is plenty of diagnostic procedure such as

Speech Audiometry- This determines speech intelligibility and discrimination (between phonemes). It has become a fundamental tool in hearing-loss assessment in determining the degree and type of hearing loss.

Tone Audiometry- This is the primary hearing test used to diagnose hearing threshold levels of patients, allowing determination of the degree, type and pattern of a hearing loss. Tone audiometry is perhaps a behavioral test used to measure hearing sensitivity.

A compilation of the most important functional tests in the case of a suspected acoustic neuroma is exclusively done to confirm or rule out the symptoms of acoustic neuroma.2. 3

Is Acoustic Neuroma Contagious?

The cause of acoustic neuroma is not known in most cases however major studies show that this condition occurs as a result of a genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), schwannomatosis, or Carney complex. Mutations in the NF2 gene cause neurofibromatosis type 2 which is responsible for the formation of a protein called schwannomin.

Many types of diseases are caused by an infectious agent such as virus infection, bacterial infection, fungal infection, parasitic & worm infection and are contagious to other people. Genetic inheritance and infections are not related to each other although this condition passes through mutation and hereditary yet it is not contagious and doesn’t spread through infections because genetic conditions cannot catch bad DNA from another person.4

Conclusion

Contagiousness has no relationship with genetics or inheriting disorders from parents. Acoustic neuroma is not related to infection and doesn’t spread from one person to another.

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