Acoustic neurinoma is not common but can cause very serious problems to the patient, even after treatment, although it is a benign tumor with non-cancerous growth.
Acoustic neurinoma occurs when the cells surrounding and insulating the vestibular nerves begin to grow, thus compressing surrounding structures and affecting nerve function. If the increase in volume begins within the inner ear canal, unilateral tinnitus, disturbed hearing or loss of hearing may be observed. In rare cases, loss of balance may also occur. If, however, the tumor begins further inside, there may be no obvious symptoms for a long time until the cerebral stem starts being compressed; the patient loses movement coordination, facial numbness or pain is experienced, and speech impediment may develop. Eventually, the compression of the cerebral stem limits the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and increases intracranial pressure. This causes nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, severe movement impairment, blurred vision and decreased consciousness, possibly leading to epileptic seizures and death.
In general, unilateral hearing symptoms merit thorough examination by MRI, which provides a safe and accurate diagnosis of these tumors. Although it is usually not an emergency, an examination should be carried out.