How to Find Balance After an Acoustic Neuroma Diagnosis

Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous and a slow-growing tumor that can occur on the nerve that connects your inner ear and brain.

The neuroma usually grows very slowly, or not at all. Sometimes it can grow rapidly, however,  and press on the brain, which can cause interference with vital bodily functions.

In most cases, the neuroma will cause the following symptoms:

  • Ringing in the affected ear
  • Facial numbness
  • Gradual hearing loss in the affected ear
  • Unsteadiness and loss of balance
  • Dizziness and vertigo

Most of these symptoms will be periodic, but they can sometimes become permanent due to complications.

Whatever the case is with you, it’s important to discuss treatment and management options with your doctor as soon as you get your diagnosis.

What Are the Treatment Options for Acoustic Neuroma?

Three treatment options exist for this type of neuroma:

  • Observation
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

As acoustic neuromas are not cancerous, and because they tend to grow very slowly, the most common treatment option is no treatment with observation. The doctor will usually opt to monitor the tumor by performing periodic MRI scans. These scans will indicate the next course of action. In most cases, they will suggest surgery or radiation therapy only if the tumor grows significantly and/or starts to cause serious symptoms.

The good thing here is that acoustic neuromas only show growth after some four years in 30% of cases. The remaining 70% of cases usually warrant continued observation as long as the tumor doesn’t grow.

In cases where radiation therapy or surgery is required, the exact treatment option will vary as it depends on things like the size of the tumor, whether or not it’s growing, your age, and other factors. Surgery is usually the prescribed course if the tumor is growing quickly and causing major problems.

The main problem with acoustic neuromas, no matter which treatment option you undertake, is the fact that they can cause hearing impairment and balance issues. Many patients have stated that they tend to feel as if they have just returned from a concert and have trouble hearing. Others encounter balance problems. In such cases, the doctor will usually suggest vestibular rehabilitation, which is an exercise-based treatment that’s led by a vestibular physical therapist. The exercises are designed to help you improve your balance and reduce all dizziness-related issues.  

CyberKnife Treatment for Acoustic Neuroma

One type of radiation treatment option is non-invasive CyberKnife treatment.

Typical surgery methods for most cancers have limited mobility, and there are many problems that present with treating tumors near the brain.

CyberKnife treatment doesn’t have the same limitations and problems. Using this method, brain tumors can be treated more effectively while minimizing radiation exposure. The same cannot be achieved through more conventional surgery or radiation therapy.

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us at 850-610-3743, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion, so you too can experience the difference.