According to Timothy C. Hain, M.D., the inner ear is about the size of a dime. A growing tumour can't go unnoticed for too long. Although the thought of something growing inside your ear might seem disturbing, according to the Mayo clinic, most ear tumours are non-cancerous (benign).
Inner ear tumours are rarely caused by cancers spreading from other parts of your body. According to Timothy C. Hain, M.D., although malignant tumours can spread anywhere in the body, the inner ear--being such a small target--is usually not affected.
According to the Mayo Clinic, inner ear tumours, called acoustic neuromas, develop on the eighth cranial nerve, which runs from your inner ear to your brain. Inner ear tumours, according to the Mayo Clinic, are one of the most common types of brain tumours treated.
Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma include hearing loss in one ear, ringing in your ear, dizziness and facial numbness or weakness. Detection of an acoustic neuroma commonly occurs during an audiometric hearing test. A significant hearing loss in only one ear or abnormally low speech recognition scores, are two things that would cause an audiologist to suspect a tumour.
CT and MRI scans often confirm the presence of an inner ear tumour. According to the Mayo Clinic, other ear problems share the same symptoms as inner ear tumours, this makes diagnosing an early stage tumour difficult. Inner ear tumours commonly present during screenings for other conditions.
According to Timothy C. Hain, M.D., most acoustic neuromas grow very slowly making conservative management a treatment option. Fast growing tumours, large tumours or tumours too close to the brainstem should be shrunk with radiation or surgically removed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the cause of acoustic neuromas remains unknown. Neurofibromatosis 2, a genetic disorder, can cause the growth of tumours on inner ear vestibulocochlear nerves in both ears.