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10 Common Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous, usually slow-growing tumor. It is a rare condition also known as, vestibular schwannoma. It is a type of tumor that does not spread to other parts of your body, but as it grows, it may push on your brain.

According to the Acoustic Neuroma Association, “Acoustic tumors constitute 6 percent-10 percent of all brain tumors and are found in roughly one of every 100,000 people per year in the United States. This translates to about 2,500-3,000 newly diagnosed acoustic tumors per year.”

Symptom 1: Dizziness

Do you feel dizzy or experience vertigo? Like you are not steady on your feet or that the room is spinning?

The acoustic neuroma grows on the eighth nerve in your brain near the ear, which affects your balance. As the tumor grows, you can feel unsteady, vertigo, or dizzy.


Symptom 2: Gradual Hearing Loss

Have you experienced gradual, subtle hearing loss, or even sudden hearing loss? Hearing loss associated with acoustic neuroma usually happens with higher frequencies.

Acoustic neuroma is sometimes misdiagnosed as hearing loss due to getting older, noise exposure, or having allergies.

Symptom 3: Tinnitus

Do you hear a ringing sound (tinnitus) in your ear? Usually, such ringing or sounds occur in just one ear, not both at the same time. However, it does not mean you necessarily have an acoustic neuroma!

You may have seen commercials that focus on what it is like to have tinnitus. It is like you hear a high-pitch sounds that blocks out everything else, but only in one ear.

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Symptom 4: Loss of Balance

Do you feel a loss of balance or are you unsteady on your feet? Disequilibrium means your walking is unsteady, but does not cause dizziness or vertigo.

About half of the people diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma suffer from disequilibrium, which is more frequent with larger tumors.

Symptom 5: Vital Functions Impacted

If the acoustic neuroma becomes a large tumor, it can put severe pressure on your brainstem and cerebellum. Vital functions that support your life may become threatened.

If you experience severe headaches, are clumsy when you walk, or experience mental confusion, seek medical help immediately.

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Symptom 6: Ear Plugged

An acoustic neuroma may make you feel like one of your ears is plugged up, as if you got water in it or there is a change in elevation.

If it does not go away, consult a physician.

Symptom 7: Headache

Intracranial pressure from the acoustic neuroma may give you dull or aching headaches. The headaches may be by your neck or the front or back of your head.

It is good to pinpoint whether the pressure from the acoustic neuroma as the cause of these unusual headaches.

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Symptom 8: Facial Paralysis/Weakness

As the acoustic neuroma grows, it can but pressure on the trigeminal nerve. This causes your face and possibly our tongue feel numb or tingle.

However, it is rare for an acoustic neuroma to paralyze your face, as with Bell’s Palsy.

Symptom 9: Fatigue

No, you are not necessarily lazy! An acoustic neuroma often causes fatigue.

Dealing with all the other symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can wear you out – from having a hard time hearing to having pressure issues with your ears.

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Symptom 10: Oral/Swallowing Issues

Because an acoustic neuroma can affect your face and mouth, you may experience a difficulty swallowing. This can be constant or recurring.

You may experience pain when trying to swallow as well as things may taste differently than usual.

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