Loss of hearing is often conditioned by hereditary. Acoustic neuroma is a one of disease that may appear all of a sudden, and damage ear from the inside so badly that person cannot hear anymore. How to struggle with the malaise, and is surgery effective in this case?
This is a noncancerous tumor that grows slowly, or appears and starts growing, affecting neurosensory channels (or the main nerve) between inner ear and brain. Since the branches of this nerve are connected with many vital functions, a tumor may make person unstable, damage hearing, and cause ringing in an ear. Also called “vestibular schwannoma”, it usually grows slowly, sometimes doesn’t grow at all. In rare cases, it may develop rapidly, start pressing against brain and affect cerebral sensineural functions considerably and exposing threat to life.
The signs of disease develop due to the fact that tumor starts growing and pressing against blood vessels, brain, and other nearby nerves. However, tumor size doesn’t always condition the severity of symptoms. A person may experience:
- Gradual or sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
- Loss of balance.
- Tinnitus (pulsation or ringing in ear).
- Facial weakness or numbness.
If you have at least one of these symptoms, it is a reason to visit a doctor and go through proper diagnosis.
The main root of tumor formation on the nerve between brain and inner ear is malfunctioning gene on chromosome 22. Usually, it serves to produce a protein that controls the growth of Schwann cells around nerves. What exactly causes acoustic neuritis is unknown, so there are no defined risk factors. The faulty gene is inherited, and it results into a disorder when tumors grow on balance nerves in both sides of brain.
The treatment of sensorineural hearing loss may vary according to the size of tumor. There are several possible variants.
If the tumor doesn’t grow, or develops slowly, and you’re not a candidate for treatment, a doctor will prescribe going through monitoring regularly. It is also advisable for the elderly. Monitoring includes imaging and hearing tests organized every 12 months. If the scan shows that tumor is growing quickly, some other type of treatment will be assigned.
In most cases, sensorineural hearing loss surgery helps to restore hearing and stop the growth of tumor. This is a reasonable option for patients regardless of age and health issues.
This variant of operation is appropriate in cases when tumor is not very large. Its aim is to stop the development of tumor, save functions of face nerves, and preserve hearing. Some people gradually lose hearing during 10-15 years after this procedure, though. Surgery for otosclerosis sensorineural hearing loss is performed with the help of radiation delivered right to the tumor to make an incision. The procedure is as follows:
- A doctor attaches a head frame to patient’s scalp that is numbed with local anesthesia to keep head firm.
- With the help of imaging scans, the surgeon pinpoints the tumor and exposes to direct radiation waves.
- A patient is being examined (means going through imaging and hearing tests) weeks, months or even years to see what the results of surgery are. Sometimes they may become evident quite late.
The surgery for sensorineural hearing loss may have some sign effects, including facial weakness, loss of hearing and balance, or it may fail, which will result into further growth of tumor. In rare occasions, radiation may trigger the development of cancer in the area.
Sometimes acoustic neuroma conductive hearing loss can be stopped only when neuroma is cut out. There are several options for such procedure depending on the size of tumor, hearing state, etc. The operation is aimed at ceasing tumor growth, preserving facial nerves, preventing paralysis of facial muscles and saving hearing.
This type of surgery is made under general anesthesia. Tumor is removed through inner ear, or via windows in person’s skull. In some cases, tumor cannot be cut out completely, for instance, when it is close to facial nerve or the brain.
This type of surgery can cause complications: symptoms may become worse, especially if nerves are affected. Surgical approach should be based on the type and size of tumor primarily.
Treatment of acoustic neuroma is quite complicated, but possible. Trust your health to the best German doctors! German Medical Group may find a suitable clinic where you will get high-quality medical help and overcome the problem of hearing loss without complications due to the most advanced methods in modern medicine. This is a reasonable choice for all European patients.