Vestibular Schwannoma (acoustic neuroma)

An acoustic neuroma, also called a ‘vestibular schwannoma’ is a benign tumor that develops on the balance (vestibular) and hearing/auditory (cochlear) nerves leading from your inner ear to the brain. A vestibular schwannoma is not in the brain and therefore not a brain tumor. It usually grows very slowly, sometimes even not at all.


As the vestibular schwannoma grows, it affects the hearing and balance nerves, usually causing the following symptoms:

  • One-sided hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Dizziness/loss of balance

When the tumor grows it can interfere with other surrounding nerves and blood vessels and sometimes press against nearby brain structures. This can cause a complete dysfunction of the hearing and balance nerves, but can also cause facial numbness. 


Because vestibular schwannomas grow very slowly and there's no immediate health risks, it's usually not necessary to immediately start treatment after diagnosis. There's usually only one good reason to start a treatment and that's to prevent a life threatening situation because of the tumor growth. It's important to know that existing symptoms usually don't disappear and the aim of treatment is to prevent symptoms to worsen. 

There's three treatment options:

  • Check-ups with MRI (so called 'wait and scan')
  • Surgical removal of the tumor
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy 

Within UNCH LUMC is specialised in diagnosing and treating vestibular schwannomas. For more information about vestibular schwannomas and the treatment options please check the LUMC website.

Ons advies