You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Your doctor may then refer you to a doctor trained in ear, nose and throat conditions (otolaryngologist) or a doctor trained in brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeon).
Because there's often a lot to talk about during your appointment, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For acoustic neuroma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment options are available?
- Which one do you recommend for me?
- What is the likelihood of side effects from each treatment option?
- What happens if I do nothing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Apr. 16, 2013
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have any family members with an acoustic neuroma?
- At its current level, do you feel the hearing in the affected ear is useful to you in any way? For example, can you use that ear on the telephone, or does that ear help you tell where sound is coming from?
- Do you have regular headaches currently or have you had them in the past?
- Acoustic neuroma. American Hearing Research Foundation. http://american-hearing.org/disorders/acoustic-neuroma/. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) and neurofibromatosis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/acoustic_neuroma.aspx. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Park JK, et al. Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Evans DG. Neurofibromatosis type 2. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 18, 2012.
- Hearing testing. American Hearing Research Foundation. http://american-hearing.org/disorders/hearing-testing/. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Vestibular testing. American Hearing Research Foundation. http://american-hearing.org/disorders/vestibular-testing/. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- McDonald R. Acoustic neuroma: What the evidence says about evaluation and treatment. The Journal of Family Practice. 2011;60:E1.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery for patients with vestibular schwannomas. International RadioSurgery Association. http://www.irsa.org/acoustic_neuroma.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Support group overview. Acoustic Neuroma Association. http://www.anausa.org/index.php/support-groups. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
- Caregivers overview. Acoustic Neuroma Association. http://www.anausa.org/index.php/caregivers. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
- Neff BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 26, 2013.
- Carlson ML, et al. Long-term audiometric outcomes following low-dose stereotactic radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma: Patterns of hearing loss and variables influencing audiometric decline. Journal of Radiosurgery. In press. Accessed Feb. 27, 2013.
- U.S. News best hospitals 2012-2013. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings. Accessed Feb. 27, 2013.