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Types of Acoustic Neuromas

Nearly all acoustic neuromas (more than 99%) are benign.  They grow slowly and have distinct borders. Acoustic neuromas can result in hearing loss, even after treatment, balance issues, facial weakness and other problems. Johns Hopkins offers treatment and care for all of these problems. An acoustic neuroma that grows and is left untreated can become life-threatening.

Types of acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas):

There are two types of acoustic neuromas:

  • Unilateral acoustic neuromas — affect only one ear, and account for 8% of all tumors inside the skull. This tumor may develop at any age, but most often occurs between the ages of 30 and 60. Acoustic neuromas may be the result of gene damage caused by environmental factors. Unilateral vestibular schwannomas are not hereditary.
  • Bilateral acoustic neuromas — affect both ears and are hereditary, caused by a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2). This tumor develops in the teens or early adulthood. In addition, patients with NF2 usually develop multiple brain and spinal cord related tumors. They also can develop tumors of the nerves crucial for swallowing, speech, eye and facial movement, and facial sensation. Determining the best management of the acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) as well as the additional nerve, brain, and spinal cord tumors is more complicated than deciding how to treat a unilateral acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma).

To make an appointment, contact the Johns Hopkins Acoustic Neuroma Center at 410-955-6406.


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