What are the Major Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma?
While an acoustic neuroma isn’t cancerous, it can certainly cause a few problems. These tumors grow slowly in the ear canal, normally on the eighth cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. Because of their location, an acoustic neuroma can interfere with a number of basic bodily processes, including transmitting sound from the ear to the brain and helping the body balance. Yes, the ear plays an important role in your sense of balance, and when the tumor appears in this position, it can actually cause some major issues with walking. How can you tell that you have an acoustic neuroma? Well, there are some symptoms to look for, including the following.
This is the very first symptom that appears. The main issue is that there are many reasons for hearing loss, so this can be easily overlooked, or at the very least, shrugged off as something that relates to aging. Hearing loss in one ear, which is the hallmark of acoustic neuroma, is very common. Usually, someone isn’t officially diagnosed with this type of tumor until other symptoms appear and a specialist manages to piece everything together.
Tinnitus is the second most common symptom of acoustic neuroma. This is the official medical term for hearing a constant or somewhat frequent ringing noise in your ears. The ringing tends to become very annoying and persistent, and as the tumor grows, it will continue to get worse. As with the hearing loss that occurs when you have one of these tumors, tinnitus appears for many other reasons, making it all the more likely that it will be dismissed as simple hearing damage.
Vertigo and Balance Issues
Since the inner ear is responsible for keeping you balanced when you’re walking, sitting, standing, and even lying down, it makes sense that the next major symptoms reflect this. Vertigo is the medical term for dizziness and a room that keeps on spinning. Like the tinnitus and hearing loss, vertigo can also be caused by a simpler medical explanation, such as the tiny crystals in your inner ear moving out of place. However, if you start to have problems with your balance, as well as tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss, then you need to see a doctor.
Headaches and Confusion
As the tumor begins to grow in your head, it will begin to put pressure on your brain, causing some increasingly worrisome symptoms, like constant headaches and even confusion. The headaches will come first, and you’ll notice that they seem to be in the same place on your head every single time. This is because of the tumor’s growth. As it begins to get larger, the headaches will become worse and more frequent. They also might be accompanied by confusion. This is something else to look out for. You’ll begin to notice major differences in your cognitive functioning, especially as the tumor starts put even more pressure on the brain around it.
Since the acoustic neuroma grows inside of your ear, near the place where some of your facial nerves connect to your brain, you’ll notice that some issues keep occurring. These include numbness and tingling in certain areas of your face, usually on the same side as the tumor. The numbness and tingling feelings can come and go or remain fairly constant. Weakness in the face, which is noticeable through droopy facial features, is another symptom. By the time that you notice these facial issues, you’ll more than likely have all of the symptoms listed above as well.
Taste and Swallowing Problems
Next, issues with your mouth and throat will appear. Again, this is due to the tumor’s location in your head, and the direction that it begins to grow in. Since everything in your face and head is connected, it should be no surprise that your sense of taste will change. Foods that you previously enjoyed may begin to taste dull. In addition to this, you’ll start to have problems swallowing food. The nerves that control the muscles in your throat may become compromised by the tumor, making this action very tough to control.
Being Unsteady On Your Feet
Finally, the last major symptom of acoustic neuroma is something that you won’t be able to ignore. You’ll end up being unsteady on your feet. This is worse than the headaches and confusion, as well as vertigo and balance issues. When you reach this phase of the illness, it’s definitive proof that the tumor has grown large enough to press even more on the brain, affecting how you walk. You’ll notice that you move unevenly, have a hard time controlling your legs, and might not even be able to walk short distances without holding onto something for balance. When this symptom appears, it’s time to do something about the tumor.