What is an acoustic neuroma?

An acoustic neuroma is a common tumor of the acoustic nerve. It generally starts on the balance division of the nerve, in the auditory canal, the bony channel through which the nerve courses as it goes from the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas grow, often at varied rates, and can compress the brainstem and other structures including the facial nerve. Ordinarily, these tumors are surgically curable. They are managed best by neurotologists, inner ear sub-specialists with particular interest and expertise in treatment of this specific tumor. Neurotologists often work in collaboration with a neurosurgeon. In the majority of cases, it is possible to remove acoustic neuromas without serious injury, and without facial paralysis (which is always a risk since the tumor has to be peeled off a compressed facial nerve). In some tumors diagnosed early, it is even possible to preserve hearing (despite the fact that the tumor has its roots in the acoustic nerve).