Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a rare tumor arising from the covering of the hearing and balance nerve as the nerve travels from the inner ear to the brain. The tumor is not cancerous and does not spread elsewhere. The tumor is very slow-growing and, depending on its location, can mimic other common inner ear problems, such as hearing loss, tinnitus (ear noise), and, especially, hearing loss and vertigo (dizziness).

A common presentation of acoustic neuroma is hearing loss in one ear only (the tumor ear), together with vertigo and tinnitus in the affected ear.

Because this tumor is rare, it is often missed. At Shea Center For Ears, any patient with signs and symptoms which might remotely suggest an acoustic neuroma are thoroughly tested with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to rule the tumor out.

Should an acoustic neuroma be found, Dr. John Shea III has assembled a team of experts to deal with the problem. Options for the patient include simple observation (these benign growths are very slow-growing), surgical removal (if the tumor impinges on other vital structures, including the nerve that controls facial muscles) or radiation ("gamma knife") treatment.

Should surgery be indicated, Dr. Shea has teamed with internationally-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Jon Robertson for the operation. Dr. Robertson is President of the American College of Neurosurgery, Chairman of the University of Tennessee Department of Neurosurgery, and a world-renowned neurosurgeon with special expertise in acoustic tumors.

Many patients have hearing loss in one ear only, and the vast majority do not have an acoustic neuroma. Patients with loss in one ear only can rest assured that they will be screened for this rare cause for their problem.

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