Tinnitus and hearing loss that are caused by an acoustic neuroma don’t always come on at the same time, even though this symptom duo is rather common among those with an acoustic neuroma.

Sometimes, the tinnitus and hearing loss that are caused by an acoustic neuroma have a span of time in between them.

I wondered how long – or short – this time passage might be, so I asked Hamid R. Djalilian, MD, Director of Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.

An acoustic neuroma, though a type of brain tumor, is perhaps the best brain tumor to have if you were to get a brain tumor.

It’s benign and slow growing. In fact they are so slow growing that sometimes, the only treatment is monitoring with MRIs once or twice a year.

“The vast majority of patients with hearing loss and tinnitus do not have acoustic tumors,” says Dr. Djalilian.

“So just because somebody has hearing loss and/or tinnitus, that does not mean they are going to have a tumor that is causing the symptoms.

“The onset of the hearing loss or tinnitus in these patients can be at any time point. Not uncommonly we see patients who have large tumors but have no hearing loss or tinnitus, and the tumor is discovered by accident on an MRI ordered for another reason.”

About one out of a thousand cases of one-ear-only tinnitus with hearing loss turn out to be a diagnosis of acoustic neuroma (also known as a vestibular Schwannoma).

dr. djalilianDr. Djalilian’s areas of expertise include complex ear surgery, hearing loss, balance disorders, facial nerve paralysis and skull base surgery. He conducts research in several areas related to cochlear implants and acoustic neuroma.