Unfortunately, neither genetic testing nor a simple physical exam is enough to diagnose an acoustic neuroma. These types of tumors are diagnosed through imaging of the head and brain either through the use of a contrast enhanced CT scan or MRI
. These imaging studies are usually done when a person shows the clinical signs of an acoustic neuroma which cannot be explained by another condition or illness.
An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that arises from cells that surround the vestibular nerve (also known as the auditory nerve or cranial nerve 8). This nerve carries messages of sound and messages associated with balance from the inner ear to the brain. The symptoms of this type of tumor include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and vertigo (a sensation of spinning or loss of balance). If the tumor is big enough, then it may compress other structures in the brain which can cause other problems.
If you have concerns regarding this matter, or if you have any of the above symptoms, then you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician
. A thorough physical exam may allow for the diagnosis of a different condition that is much more common that the rare acoustic neuroma. If your doctor
cannot find any evidence of another condition, then he or she may order a CT scan or MRI of the head to look for an acoustic neuroma.