Because signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma are likely to develop gradually and because symptoms such as hearing loss can be indicators of other middle and inner ear problems, it may be difficult for your doctor to detect the tumor in its early stages.
After asking questions about your symptoms, your doctor will conduct an ear exam. Your doctor may order the following tests:
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- Hearing test (audiometry). In this test, conducted by a hearing specialist (audiologist), you hear sounds directed to one ear at a time. The audiologist presents a range of sounds of various tones and asks you to indicate each time you hear the sound. Each tone is repeated at faint levels to find out when you can barely hear. The audiologist may also present various words to determine your hearing ability.
- Scans. Contrasted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans of your head can provide images that confirm the presence of an acoustic neuroma.
- 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.