The cause of acoustic neuroma is not exactly known. It’s as a result of nerve cells growing uncontrollably. As the Acoustic Neuroma tumor (AN) grows, it exerts pressure on the balance and hearing nerves leading to hearing loss on one ear, ringing also called tinnitus inside the ear and loss of balance or dizziness.
As the tumor enlarges, life sustaining functions are compromised as it exerts pressure on the cerebellum and the brainstem. Unilateral Acoustic Neuroma claims about 8 percent of all tumors developing inside the skull. Unilateral ANs aren’t hereditary.
What Experts Have to Say About Acoustic Neuroma
Some theories had earlier suggested the tumors have originated around the acoustic region. But, later on medical experts found the tumor to exist in the 8th cranial nerve, after which they called it the Vestibular schwannoma.
The tumor usually starts small and grows at a gradual pace. In the US alone about 3000 people are diagnosed with the condition each year. 1 in every 100,000 people globally suffers from acoustic neuroma and it affects either sex but most common in older adults.
There exists one known cause of acoustic neuroma which is a genetically passed on disorder known as the neurofibromatosis 2. Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) presents an unusual disorder and only accounts for just 5 percent of all acoustic neuromas. This means that most of them occur in sporadic form. However doctors are not sure what leads to the sporadic form.
This very unusual condition disposes individuals who later develop the benign tumors in separate cranial nerves but most specifically on the vestibulocochlear nerve. It is important to note that vast majority of such tumors occurs unexpectedly and usually appear in individuals with no history of the condition in the family. Scientists are still to understand why certain individuals acquire these tumors. Other risk factors can be being subjected to loud noises; the thyroid benign tumor also called parathyroid neuroma as well as being exposed to low radiation levels during childhood.
Because the tumor has an effect on the ear-brain link, loss of hearing is inevitable. The tumor usually exerts pressure on the part that aids hearing and the brainstem. If the tumor enlarges and presses on the brainstem more, the circumstances can be fatal. Many acoustic neuroma cases have been described to be really slow with the growth process lasting even for decades.
The major disadvantage is that patients may not easily take notice of the signs and symptoms may be until the condition gets out of hand.
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It is highly advisable that those people between the ages of 30 to 60 needs to start undertaking diagnostics regardless if they have the symptoms or not. It is very possible that the tumor can remain still without any symptoms.
Acoustic Neuroma presents a condition that is quite hard to detect or diagnose because the symptoms can really take a long period to be visible and are usually comparable to common ear problems. Acoustic neuroma just like any other tumor condition needs to be checked and not to be mistaken for hearing problems.