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Tumors of the ear Symptoms & Diagnosis


The first symptoms of an acoustic neuroma include:

  • Gradual hearing loss in one ear with near normal hearing in the other ear
  • Decrease in sound discrimination, especially when talking on the telephone
  • Ringing in the affected ear, called tinnitus

As the neuroma gradually enlarges, symptoms may include:

  • Balance problems
  • Facial numbness and tingling
  • Weakness of the facial muscles on the side of the tumor

Finally, if headaches or mental confusion occurs, the tumor may be life threatening. A doctor should be contacted immediately.


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and examine your ears and nervous system. Tests may include:

  • Audiogram —a test that measures hearing in both ears
  • Auditory brainstem response test (ABR, BAER, or BSER)—a test that measures the rate of electric impulses traveling from the inner ear to the brainstem
    • A slowed or absent impulse may indicate the presence of an acoustic neuroma. This test is almost always abnormal in the presence of an acoustic neuroma.
  • Electronystagmography—Cold and warm water or air is inserted in the ear canal, and the resulting dizziness and rapid eye movement is recorded.
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the body
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body

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Tumors of the ear Guide

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