Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma – also known as a vestibular schwannoma – is a non-cancerous tumor that grows slowly off the lining of the vestibular nerve, which connects the brain to the inner ear. As it grows, this type of tumor can compress the adjacent nerves and brain stem, causing problems with hearing, coordination and other vital body functions.

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Meet Our Brain Tumor Care Team

Meet Our Brain Tumor Care Team

Meet the specialists at the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center who are experts in treating acoustic neuromas.

Meet the Team

Symptoms are often easy to miss and may take many years to develop. They include:

  • Hearing loss, which can be subtle or sudden and one-sided, accompanied by ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • A sense of fullness in the affected ear 
  • Loss of balance and vertigo 
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus)
  • Headaches
  • Facial numbness
  • Facial weakness
  • Double vision 
  • Difficulty swallowing


Signs of an acoustic neuroma are often identified with a routine hearing test (audiogram). These tests evaluate hearing using a range of sounds, tones and other speech tests.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain is critical to diagnosing an acoustic neuroma. The scan, usually performed with a contrast dye, provides detailed information about the tumor’s exact size, location and type.


Our team will develop a personalized treatment plan based on the size and location of the tumor as well as your symptoms, hearing status and overall health. Complete surgical removal often results in a long-term cure. Smaller tumors may be treated non-invasively with CyberKnife® radiosurgery, which is highly effective, or monitored over time.

  • Observation – If the acoustic neuroma is small and does not cause any symptoms, it can often be observed with surveillance MRI scans and hearing evaluations over time to watch for growth.
  • Microsurgical Removal – When surgery is needed, a neurosurgeon and neuro-otologist specializing in skull base surgery strategize with the patient to determine the best approach for tumor removal. They use the latest techniques and high-powered microscopes to make surgery safer and recovery easier. Surgical risks and the possibility of facial weakness increase with the size of the tumor. A team of neurologists and electrophysiologists monitor critical nerve and brain activity to avoid complications and ensure the best possible outcome.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery – CyberKnife® radiosurgery helps stop or control the growth of an acoustic neuroma with highly focused beams of radiation. Treatment can be done in one session or over multiple sessions to preserve hearing as much as possible.

Our team will closely monitor you and personalize your follow-up care. Our patient navigator will also connect you with our support group and other resources. Learn more