An acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a brain tumor. This non-cancerous tumor is located on the eighth cranial nerve, called the vestibular nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. This growth is quite rare and accounts for approximately seven percent of all brain tumors. About 2,500 cases of acoustic neuromas are diagnosed each year. It typically occurs on one side of the head and does not spread to other parts of the body. Although benign, if left untreated, acoustic neuromas can cause severe neurological damage.
What Causes Acoustic Neuroma?
The exact cause of an acoustic neuroma is unknown, but several environmental factors are being investigated. Exposure to loud noises and radiation around the head has been related to the development of an acoustic neuroma. Although no connection between cell phone usage and this kind of brain tumor has been made, many experts recommend the use of hands-free devices until more research is completed. Genetics may play a small role in the etiology of acoustic neuroma, as a hereditary condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 can lead to its development. This has been only observed in about five percent of the cases.