Although acoustic neuromas aren’t the most common audiological concern affecting Thousand Oaks residents’ hearing and balance, these tumors affect a significant number of people throughout California and across the U.S. In Part 1 of this blog post on acoustic neuromas in Thousand Oaks and surrounding regions including Simi Valley covered what they are and how they can be identified in earlier stages before they cause serious hearing loss, tinnitus, imbalance or even, in rare cases, death. If you’re still interested in reading about how acoustic neuromas affect Thousand Oaks patients of all ages, please read through the information below and contact an audiologist in Thousand Oaks or its surrounding cities with any questions.
Risks Posed by Acoustic Neuromas
The most commonly experienced problems caused by tumors of the ear in Thousand Oaks patients include hearing loss, tinnitus and vestibular disorders. Though the tumors themselves are benign, acoustic neuromas can grow big enough to press against the brain in rare cases, disrupting vital processes and possibly even leading to death. This is why anyone experiencing auditory changes should see a Thousand Oaks audiologist for an assessment as soon as possible.
The symptoms for acoustic neuromas are similar to those associated with other ear conditions, making diagnosis tricky. An examination of the ears by a Thousand Oaks audiologist accompanied by a hearing test and CT scan or MRI by an ear, nose and throat doctor can usually identify the presence of a tumor.
Audiological & Surgical Treatments
Treatment options vary depending on the size of the tumor. Small acoustic neuromas that are not causing symptoms may simply be monitored via regular imaging scans at a Ventura County audiologist’s office to chart growth. Should the tumor grow large enough to cause problems, your Thousand Oaks hearing healthcare professional will develop a treatment plan for your individual needs.
Surgery is the only way to ensure an acoustic neuroma is eradicated completely and is the option of choice for large tumors. There are several different types of procedures employed; the surgeon may go through, above or behind the inner ear in order to remove the tumor during the procedure, which is typically performed in a Thousand Oaks in-patient surgical center. Gamma knife radiosurgery, a procedure that uses controlled doses of radiation to halt growth, is effective for small- to medium-sized tumors and is often recommended for patients over the age of 65. No incisions are made, but the tumor isn’t actually removed or cured during this procedure. Each approach has its pros and cons; which option your Thousand Oaks audiologist recommends depends largely on the size and exact location of the acoustic neuroma.