Acoustic Neuroma is a tumor found in the eighth cranial nerve or the vestibular nerve. This nerve connects the inner ear to the brain. It has two parts: the first part is responsible for transmitting sounds while the other helps send balance information from the inner ear to the brain.
Acoustic Neuromas are very rare and normally benign or noncancerous. It grows very slowly over a period of many years. They can push the brain as it grows which may cause more damage. It may also press nearby cranial nerves that control the muscles of facial expression and sensation. When these tumors compressed the brain stem or cerebellum it may become life-threatening.
Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
The signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma are hardly noticeable at first. Many people thought that the symptoms they are experiencing are simply because of aging, so it would be a while before the condition is diagnosed.
The initial symptoms include:
- There is a gradual loss of hearing in one ear usually accompanied by tinnitus or ringing of the ear.
- There may be instances where there is a feeling of fullness in the ear.
- Sudden loss of hearing may also happen.
Additional symptoms, which can occur over time, include:
- Vertigo or the feeling that the world is spinning
- Equilibrium may be affected
- Facial numbness and tingling may also be experienced and can sometimes come and go or can be a constant symptom
- Weakness in the face
- There will be changes in the taste
- There is difficulty when swallowing and hoarseness
- Headaches are also common
- Confusion may also be a problem
- Unsteadiness can also be a problem
The cause of acoustic neuroma can be attributed to two factors; the sporadic form and a form associated with a syndrome called neurofibromatosis type II or NF2. NF2 is a genetic disorder that is characterized by the growth of benign tumors that affects the nervous system and acoustic neuromas are common among the tumors. However, NF2 is a rare disorder. In fact, of all reported acoustic neuroma cases less than half of it is caused by NF2. The rest are caused by sporadic form. Experts are not sure what causes the sporadic form. But it is proven that the risk of developing acoustic neuroma is increased if an individual was exposed to high doses of radiation.
If you think you are suffering from Acoustic Neuroma you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Acoustic Neuroma as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).