Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumour that can affect hearing and balance.

An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumour that can affect hearing and balance.
beginning of content

Acoustic neuroma

3-minute read

An acoustic neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumour that can affect hearing and balance.

An acoustic neuroma grows in the eighth cranial nerve.

An acoustic neuroma grows in the acoustic nerve, the eighth cranial nerve in the brain – a nerve also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve is responsible for controlling hearing and balance.

Acoustic neuroma causes

The cause of acoustic neuroma is usually not known. A few people who have an acoustic neuroma also have a rare inherited condition called neurofibromatosis type 2. But for most people, there is no obvious cause.

Acoustic neuroma symptoms

Usually acoustic neuromas grow very slowly. This means there may not be any symptoms in the early stages when the tumour is small.

Many people say they notice some loss of hearing and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Usually one ear is affected, but both ears can be involved if the person has neurofibromatosis type 2.

Whether or not there are any other symptoms can depend on the size of the tumour and how hard it presses on the eighth cranial nerve. Some people with an acoustic neuroma get:

  • dizziness or vertigo, which is a feeling that the space around you is spinning
  • loss of balance
  • headache
  • facial numbness or tingling
  • blurred vision
  • problems coordinating limbs on one side of the body

Acoustic neuroma diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you have acoustic neuroma, they might send you for tests such as hearing tests and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. An MRI allows your doctor to see if there’s a tumour, and its size and position if there is one.

Acoustic neuroma treatment

The options for treatment include:

  • no treatment – just monitoring the tumour growth and related symptoms
  • surgery – to cut out the tumour
  • stereotactic treatment – this procedure sends focused radiation to the tumour to stop it from growing

Which treatment you have depends on the size and location or the tumour, your symptoms, your age and general health, and what you want. You can read more about treating acoustic neuromas at the Whirled Foundation.

Even though acoustic neuromas are not cancerous, they can be disruptive and cause lasting hearing and balance problems. If they’re not treated, some acoustic neuromas can cause serious, permanent damage to nerves. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Last reviewed: June 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Acoustic Neuroma | myVMC

Acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma is a benign tumour of Schwann cells which surround the XIIth cranial nerve responsible for balance and hearing.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Brain Foundation | Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular schwannoma, neurinoma) Read more at Virtual Medical Centre Description The eighth cranial nerve - also known as the auditory or vestibulocochlear nerve - consists of the vestibular and cochlear divisions, which runs from the inner ear to the brain

Read more on Brain Foundation website

Acoustic neuroma - Better Health Channel

In its earlier stages, an acoustic neuroma can present similar symptoms to other, less serious conditions, which may delay diagnosis and treatment.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a term used to describe two completely separate genetic conditions – NF1 and NF2. These two types of neurofibromatosis are caused by different faulty genes, which may be inherited or may have spontaneously changed (mutated) at conception. Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1 – also called von Recklinghausen’s disease) is the most common type.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis Category: Brain, Spinal Cord and Nerve Health Topic: Nerve Problems Send by email View as PDF Send by post The term neurofibromatosis (NF) is used in a general way to describe two completely separate genetic conditions, caused by different faulty genes

Read more on Queensland Health website

Neurofibromatosis type 1 - myDr.com.au

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a relatively common inherited condition affecting approximately one in 3000 people. It is also known as von Recklinghausen`s disease.

Read more on myDr website

Neurofibroma - Skin Cancer Clinic Brisbane

Neurofibroma commonly occur as a solitary mobile soft skin-coloured lump. Multiple neurofibromas may be part of the genetic condition Neurofibromatosis.

Read more on Skin Check website

Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential (BAEP) | myVMC

A brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) is an evoked potential caused by a sound, usually a series of 'clicks'. Electrodes positioned on the scalp record responses to the sounds; these are then observed as a reading on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Responses to aural stimuli originate from relay structures within the brainstem.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Benign Disease - Targeting Cancer

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Cancer Treatment - Targeting Cancer

Find out about the treatment available for different cancer types.

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback