Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Acoustic Neuroma

The cause of an acoustic neuroma depends on the type of neuroma.

  • Unilateral acoustic neuromas may be caused by:
    • Continual exposure to loud noise, such as music or machinery
    • Radiation to the neck or face as a child
  • Bilateral acoustic neuromas are almost always caused by the genetic condition neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2).

Diagnosing acoustic neuromas

An acoustic neuroma may go undiagnosed for a long time, since its symptoms are similar to other middle ear and inner ear conditions. As symptoms progress, diagnostic tests may include:

  • Ear exam: Your physician will examine your outer ear canal and eardrum with an otoscope, a tool with a light and magnifying glass.
  • Hearing test: A traditional hearing test is used to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: This test combines X-ray and computer technology to produce detailed cross-sectional images.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: This test creates detailed images using a large magnet, a computer and radiofrequencies. Unlike computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans or X-rays, MRI does not use radiation.


Related Resources

Acoustic Neuroma Association*

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