Acoustic Neuroma

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An acoustic neuroma (also called a schwannoma or neurilemoma) is a tumor that arises from the neurilemma (sheath) of the eighth cranial nerve. As the tumor enlarges, it presses on surrounding nerves and interferes with blood supply. This leads to tinnitus, dizziness, and progressive hearing loss. Other symptoms develop as the tumor presses on the brainstem and other cranial nerves. Usually it is necessary to remove the tumor surgically.


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Key Clinical Terms: The Ear adrenal


acoustic neuroma

A tumor of the eighth cranial nerve sheath; although benign, it can


press on surrounding tissue and produce symptoms; also called a

schwannoma or neurilemoma

conductive hearing loss

Hearing impairment that results from blockage of sound transmis-

sion to the inner ear

Meniere disease

A disease associated with increased fluid pressure in the inner ear


and characterized by hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus

otitis externa

Inflammation of the external auditory canal; swimmer's ear

o-TI-tis ex-TER-na

otit_is med_ia _

Inflammation of the middle ear with accumulation of watery (serous)

o-TI-tis ME-de-a

or mucoid fluid


Formation of abnormal and sometimes hardened bony tissue in the


ear. It usually occurs around the oval window and the footplate

(base) of the stapes, causing immobilization of the stapes and pro-

gressive loss of hearing.

sensorineural hearing loss

Hearing impairment that results from damage to the eighth cranial


nerve or to auditory pathways in the brain


A sensation of noises, such as ringing or tinkling, in the ear



An illusion of movement, as of the body moving in space or the en-


vironment moving about the body; usually caused by disturbances

in the vestibular apparatus; loosely used to mean dizziness or light-




Surgical incision of the tympanic membrane; performed to drain the


middle ear cavity or to insert a tube into the tympanic membrane for


otorhinolaryngology (ORL)

The branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the ear(s), nose,

o-to-ri -no-lar-in-GOL-o-je

and throat (ENT); also called otolaryngology (OL)


Surgical removal of the stapes; it may be combined with insertion of a


prosthesis to correct otosclerosis


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