Acoustic Neuroma (aka vestibular schwannoma) is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor found on the main nerve that leads from your inner ear to your brain. Pressure from the neuroma can cause hearing loss, ringing in your ear, balance problems, facial numbness or muscle weakness.
In rare cases, the tumor can become large enough to press against the brain, interfering with important functions. There are various nerves in the brain (cranial nerves) that serve a purpose for speech or for hearing – both relevant to communication. If pressure from the tumor, or damage to the brain tissue from surgical removal impacts these nerves, difficulties may arise with:
· speech sound discrimination
· inability to speak clearly due to facial weakness
· facial expression; facial drooping
· chewing and swallowing
The speech-language pathologist may be a part of the acoustic neuroma patient’s multidisciplinary treatment team if concerns arise related to speech, facial movement, and/or chewing/swallowing.