An acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the eighth cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. Also called a vestibular schwannoma, these growths can cause severe problems including hearing loss, due to the pressure of the tumor onto the nerve. Such issues can become permanent if left untreated.
The exact cause of acoustic neuromas is still under investigation, but doctors believe defects in a tumor-suppressing gene are partially to blame. Research has also been done to determine whether loud noises might be a contributing factor. Previous exposure to radiation treatments around the head and neck is also a potential cause.
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