Acoustic Neuroma

Though acoustic neuromas are rare, Houston Methodist’s brain tumor professionals are experts at recognizing symptoms and making an early diagnosis — the best opportunity for successful treatment.

Houston Methodist neurologists understand that although benign acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) grow slowly, the symptoms can impact quality of life and neurological health. 

Our multidisciplinary team of neurologists, surgeons and head and neck specialists provides precise, swift diagnoses and personalized treatment specific to the size and location of your tumor. In addition, auditory, surgical and brain tumor specialists combine their expertise to restore your balance, hearing and facial sensitivity. 

At Houston Methodist, patients receive leading-edge treatments and the opportunity to participate in clinical trials — including access to advanced therapies that are not yet widely available at other centers.

Diagnosing and Treating Acoustic Neuroma

How are acoustic neuroma tumors diagnosed?

Patients often first notice symptoms similar to those of middle and inner ear conditions, such as:


  • Hearing loss – Typically localized to one side
  • Tinnitus – Often referred to as “ringing in the ears” or “head noise”
  • Balance problems or vertigo
  • Paralysis of a facial nerve
  • Headaches
  • Facial numbness

After a physical examination and hearing loss test, Houston Methodist specialists use advanced CT and MRI technology to create detailed images of the brain that help them identify the size, location and type of tumor:


  • Unilateral tumors affect only one ear and account for 8% of all tumors inside the skull. They may be the result of gene damage caused by environmental factors and can develop at any age, most often between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • Bilateral tumors affect both ears and are hereditary. This type of tumor is caused by a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2) and typically develops during the teen years or early adulthood.


Considering these factors as well as your o verall health, our integrated acoustic neuroma team will customize a treatment plan for your unique condition.

What treatment options are available for acoustic neuroma tumors?

For small and unobtrusive tumors, treatment may begin with active monitoring for changes in symptoms or tumor size. This approach minimizes the need for surgery and potential associated complications. 

Some patients can benefit from radiation therapy to stop smaller tumors from growing. Over several sessions, our experts will use highly specialized stereotactic radiosurgery equipment to shrink growths and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue.

Patients with large tumors that cause moderate to severe symptoms can benefit from surgery. Houston Methodist’s world-class surgeons are trained in minimally invasive brain tumor extraction. Our surgeons perform the latest procedures with unprecedented accuracy to preserve and restore hearing and facial nerve function.

After treatment, we perform ongoing image scans over the next several years to assess whether the tumor is growing back.

I am looking for advanced care or a second opinion.

Houston Methodist is your partner in making treatment decisions. Our recommendations are based on years of expertise in successfully treating acoustic neuroma tumors. We educate patients and their loved ones on every option available, from initial diagnosis through second opinions and beyond.

When evaluating treatment options, we balance the risk of potential tissue damage from the tumor with the risks associated with treatment. The goal is to preserve existing hearing functionality and prevent facial paralysis. 

Acoustic neuroma tumors are as unique as each patient, as is every treatment recommendation. We will help you make an informed decision about the best option to pursue based on your overall health, lifestyle and unique attributes of your tumor.

Learn More About Acoustic Neuroma

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Sharing experiences with others can help patients and their loved ones better understand and manage their condition.
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