This information is about acoustic neuroma and its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. It should be read with our general information about brain tumours, which has more detailed information on tests, treatments and side effects.
An acoustic neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumour that usually grows slowly. A benign tumour can cause problems as it grows by pressing on surrounding tissue. But, unlike a malignant (cancer) tumour, it can’t spread from where it started to other parts of the brain.
Acoustic neuroma develops from the lining of the main nerve that connects the inner ear to your brain. This is called the acoustic or hearing nerve. It controls your hearing and balance. The facial nerve runs next to it. Although acoustic neuromas are a type of brain tumour, they do not spread into (invade) the brain. But if a tumour grows large enough, it can interfere with nearby nerves or important functions of the brain.
Acoustic neuromas start in Schwann cells, which cover the hearing nerve, so they are sometimes called a vestibular schwannoma. They are most likely to be found in people aged in their 40s to 60s.