Acoustic neuroma is a rare, non-cancerous and slow growing tumor which develops along the main nerve connecting your inner ear to your brain. The pressure resulting from the growth of the tumor may cause hearing loss, ringing in your ears (also known as tinnitus), and a loss of balance.
Oftentimes, an acoustic neuroma growth will be present in the inner ear for a long time before it is caught. As the cause of these growths are largely unknown, it is important for the symptoms of this chronic condition to be known in order to start treatments early on in its presence.
Common symptoms of acoustic neuroma are:
- A very gradual loss in hearing, typically on one side, and usually affecting higher frequencies.
- Balance issues, such as unsteadiness and vertigo.
- Tinnitus - ringing, buzzing, roaring, or other noises in the ear without an external source for the sound.
- Clumsiness or confusion.
- Facial weakness and pain.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and believe it may be caused by acoustic neuroma, make an appointment with your family doctor.
When acoustic neuroma is caught early in its onset, it can prevent more serious symptoms from occurring.
During recovery from treatments, it is not uncommon for a person to continue experiencing the symptoms of acoustic neuroma.
A change in hearing, tinnitus, headaches, continued balance issues and facial weakness or pain, eye discomfort, cognitive impairment and issues with tasting or swallowing are often seen during recovery.
Some things you can do to make your recovery easier are:
- Undergoing hearing preservation using hearing aids or other assistive devices.
- Managing tinnitus through therapies or masking devices.
- Learning to lipread in order to fill in the gaps you may have missed due to loss of hearing or missed words and sounds due to symptoms of tinnitus.
- Doing physical therapy or balance retraining to regain control over difficulties while balancing.
- Managing facial weakness and pain through neuromuscular retraining.
- Paying attention to eye discomfort and changes in vision.
- Addressing cognitive needs through therapy.
- Visiting a speech pathologist, nurse or occupational therapist to address swallowing difficulties.
Speech (lip) reading involves watching the movements of the lips, jaw and tongue to “fill in the blanks” of words or sounds that may have been missed.
When lipreading, it can also be helpful to watch a person’s facial expressions, eye expressions, and body language in order to interpret what is being said.
Finally, knowing the context of the conversation is helpful and allows you to make educated guesses to help you process words more quickly and accurately.
Learning to lipread has proven to be beneficial for many people of all ages and backgrounds, including individuals who have tinnitus.
To learn more about lipreading, check out this 8-step video guide to getting started.
Learn and practice lipreading (an important part of overall speechreading) at your own pace from the comfort of your own home.
Feel more confidentabout your ability to communicate in challenging listening environments (like virtual calls) by learning to identify 8 of the easiest lip movements.
Feel more connected to conversations and the world around you. Video lessons (with captions for hearing accessibility) help you start, or build on, your ability to lip read.