In the majority of patients, the first symptom of acoustic neuroma is a reduction of hearing in one ear. This hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus, sound in the ear that has no externally audible source, and is usually subtle and slow in progression. There may also be a feeling of fullness in the affected ear. These early symptoms are sometimes mistaken for normal changes of aging, delaying diagnosis.
Because the acoustic neuroma originates in the balance portion of the eighth nerve, a patient may experience unsteadiness and problems with balance as the tumor grows. Larger tumors can press on the trigeminal nerve causing facial numbness and tingling, which can be either occasional or constant.
Severe symptoms such as headaches, staggering and mental confusion can indicate an increase of intracranial pressure. Immediate attention is required as this pressure can be a life-threatening complication.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to consult a physician so that a diagnosis can be established. If acoustic neuroma is diagnosed, early management is vital to your continued health.