Vestibular schwannoma, also known as acoustic neuroma, is a noncancerous, slow-growing tumour that forms on the primary (vestibular) nerve that connects the inner ear to your brain. This nerve’s branches directly impact your hearing and balance, and pressure from a vestibular schwannoma may cause unsteadiness ringing in your ear and hearing loss.

The Schwann cells surrounding this nerve often form this condition and develop slowly. It may create quickly and become big enough to press on the brain and interfere with critical processes in rare cases.


As the tumour develops, the signs and symptoms may become more severe or noticeable. Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the afflicted ear)
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Muscular weakness or loss of movement and facial numbness

An acoustic neuroma may develop big enough to press the brainstem by becoming life-threatening in rare situations.


Vestibular schwannoma is challenging to identify early because of subtle symptoms and signs that grow slowly. Hearing loss is linked to many other inner and middle ear issues.

Your doctor will examine your ears after discussing your symptoms. Your doctor could request the following tests:


The vestibular schwannoma treatment may differ based on the following factors:

  • Severity of symptoms
  • The overall health
  • The growth and size of the acoustic neuroma

Your doctor may suggest one or more of three treatments:

Radiation therapy

Numerous forms of radiation treatment are used to treat this condition:

  • Proton beam therapy
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery


An acoustic neuroma may need surgery to remove if it is:

  • Causing symptoms
  • Very large
  • Continuing to grow

Vestibular schwannoma surgery includes removing the tumour via a window in the skull or the inner ear. The surgery aims to remove the tumour while preserving the facial nerve. Surgical excision of the tumour might increase symptoms if the balance, hearing, or facial nerves are affected.


You or your doctor might decide to monitor these small tumours that aren’t developing or are slowly growing and produce little or no symptoms. If you’re over 65 or otherwise not a candidate for severe therapy, monitoring may be advised. If the tumour is developing or causing symptoms or other issues, you may require treatment.

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