Hearing loss is a common symptom when a non-cancerous tumor known as an acoustic neuroma (also called a vestibular schwannoma) grows and presses on the nerve that leads from your inner ear to your brain. In addition to hearing loss, acoustic neuromas can cause balance problems, facial numbing, weakness and facial paralysis.
Treatment for acoustic neuromas varies from observation to radiation therapy. Surgery may be necessary if the tumors are large, growing fast or pressing on vital areas of the brain. If surgery is required, a team of specialists, including otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons, work together to minimize nerve damage and associated risks.
“The neurosurgeon’s job is to remove the tumor,” explained David Kaylie, MD, co-director of Duke’s skull base tumor center. “My job is to preserve hearing, balance, and facial nerve function, and help the neurosurgeon reach the tumor.”