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