How Does Acoustic Neuroma Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Acoustic Neuroma is a non-cancerous growth that affects the nerves between the inner ear and the brain. In over 90% of the population, the first symptom is noticed through problems with the hearing because branches of this nerve immediately impact your balance and hearing often resulting in hearing loss, ringing noises in the ears and unsteadiness.

This condition develops from the Schwann cells wrapping around the ear and the brain nerves. In some cases, it grows slowly or does not grow at all. Nevertheless, in the worst-case scenarios, it grows rapidly and develops into larger mass or tumor affecting the major functions in the brain.

How Does Acoustic Neuroma Affect The Body?

How Does Acoustic Neuroma Affect The Body?

The primary sign of an acoustic neuroma is usually a gradual loss of hearing in one ear, often accompanied by ringing in the ears generally referred to as tinnitus or a feeling of fullness in the ear. In many cases, it results in hearing loss as well. Some of the ways how the patients get affected with acoustic neuroma are

  • Hearing loss in almost most of the patients suffering from this condition
  • Problems associated with ears such as earache, fullness and ringing sound
  • Dizziness or vertigo problems
  • Causes dizziness and problems with balance such as unsteadiness. Perhaps this condition is noticed even before hearing the loss in certain clinical trials
  • facial weakness or paralysis, facial numbness or tingling
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Headaches and brain damages resulting in impaired ability to coordinate with the voluntary movements3.

What Triggers It?

The cause of acoustic neuromas predominantly is due to the malfunctioning gene on chromosome 22. In some cases like neurofibromatosis type II (NF2), it results through inheritance which is characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors in the nervous system. Some of the common causes of this disorder are

Age- Acoustic neuroma may be the result of nerve damage caused by environmental factors. However, the most common risk factor is due to age, it tends to appear in individuals between the ages of 30 and 60.

Family History-Most unilateral vestibular schwannomas are not hereditary and occur sporadically. But, there is an inheritable condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 that often results in Acoustic Neuroma. It accounts for about 5% of acoustic neuroma conditions. One of the striking characteristics of neurofibromatosis type 2 is its capacity to produce cancerous growth on both sides of your head as well as on other nerves. It is regarded as one of the dominant risk factors because the mutation is passed from the parent to the child.

Radiation Exposure- Acoustic neuroma risk is higher among individuals who underwent radiation treatment. Significant exposure to radiation during childhood may increase the risk later in life. Even prolonged exposure to noises leads to this disorder.1. 2

Symptoms Causing Acoustic Neuroma

The primary signs of an acoustic neuroma are often subtle. However, the symptoms worsen over a period of time and especially when you age. According to the National Organization of Rare Diseases, it affects 1 in every 100,000 individuals but in the United States, more than 2000 cases are diagnosed every year.

The symptoms of acoustic neuroma are invariably dependent on its size. The larger the size the worse will be the symptoms and larger tumors are life-threatening. Patients diagnosed with this disorder experience severe dizziness and unsteadiness. They also encounter hearing loss problems and tinnitus.

Conclusion

There are many on-going research investigations to better understand the cause of this condition; however, there is no proven evidence to show what is causing an acoustic neuroma. In most conditions, it develops from no apparent reason. Several investigations are happening in finding the latent use of other medications for the treatment of acoustic neuromas.

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