Patient Information and Resources

What do I need for my appointment?

If you have an acoustic neuroma or a concern for another skull base tumor we recommend you bring any records and imaging you have available.  We also recommend bringing a friend or family member.  Write down any questions or topics you would like addressed and bring them to your appointment. Schedule an appointment

  • Prior medical records
  • Audiogram (hearing test) and any balance testing (VNG) results
  • Radiology imaging including the disk of your recent head scans
  • List of questions
  • Family member or friend

Can my hearing be saved?

Many patients diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma will lose their hearing, however it is possible to save hearing in some situations.  Your current hearing level, as well as your tumor location, size, and type are all important factors in determining hearing outcomes. Our surgeons are experts in hearing preservation techniques and will discuss hearing outcomes at your appointment.

How can dizziness/imbalance be managed?

For some patients, dizziness/imbalance can significantly impact their quality of life. Vestibular therapy is a form of physical therapy that can help strengthen the balance system. Balance exercises can be beneficial for all patients who experience dizziness/imbalance, whether they are undergoing observation or have recently undergone surgery to remove a vestibular schwannoma.

Certain exercises can help strengthen the balance system. It may be helpful to see a specialized physical therapist to learn these or other exercises before performing them on your own at home. 

What will my surgery be like?

Treatment varies widely depending on the size and location of your tumor as well as your personal health history.

We want to provide you with the most effective treatment while minimizing pain, risk and recovery time. We're so committed to minimally invasive surgery that we've dedicated an entire operating suite to the technology. This room is equipped with the latest high-definition endoscopes and operating microscopes along with ceiling-mounted screens so your surgeon can view your procedure from every angle.

Dr. Carl Heilman performing surgery 

After surgery you'll receive exceptional treatment in our neurosurgical intensive care unit. The experienced doctors and nurses in this unit specialize in helping patients recover from brain surgery safely and comfortably.  Typically patients spend one night in the neurosurgical intensive care unit and two to three days on a surgical floor receiving personalized care from physical therapy and our team of experts to recover from your operation.

What are options for management of hearing loss associated with a vestibular schwannoma?

The extent of hearing loss associated with a vestibular schwannoma varies and may not be consistent with the size of the tumor. Hearing aids may be an option for many patients who have "serviceable hearing" based on their hearing test results. A CROS or BiCROS hearing aid can utilize the ability of the better hearing ear for patients who have completely lost hearing or have hearing loss that may not benefit from traditional hearing aids due to the vestibular schwannoma itself, radiation, or surgery. There is also an option of a cochlear implant or a bone anchored hearing aid, both of which are surgically implanted devices to help with hearing. Some patients may choose to live without any hearing aid, especially if they have normal hearing in their other ear, however they may have difficulty hearing in background noise and telling which direction sounds are coming from.

There are pros and cons associated with each of these options and should be discussed in more detail with a neurotologist and an audiologist.