Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous tumor located at the base of the brain, originating from one of the balance nerves within the internal auditory canal. As it grows, it presses against several nerves and creates problems in hearing, balance, facial movement and facial sensation. Left unchecked, it may press on the brainstem and become life threatening.
The cause of acoustic neuromas in most patients is unknown. According to the Acoustic Neuroma Association, estimates of the incidence of symptomatic acoustic neuroma vary from one in every 200,000 people to one in every 3,500 people. Other studies indicate a more frequent incidence, perhaps as high as 1.5% of the population. Most acoustic neuromas are diagnosed on patients between the ages of 30 and 60.