Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma
(Vestibular Schwannoma)

  • Are you worried about what your diagnosis of an Acoustic Neuroma (or Vestibular Schwannoma) means for you?
  • Are you scheduled to have surgery for Acoustic Neuroma removal, and do you want to prepare for surgery as best as you can?
  • Have you been avoiding your usual activities because you’re worried about falling or losing your balance?
  • Have you been diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma and now want to monitor and improve your balance and vestibular function over time? 

What is an Acoustic Neuroma?

An Acoustic Neuroma (also known as a Vestibular Schwannoma) is a tumour that forms along the vestibulo cochlear nerve, on the side of your head. The nerve’s function is to carry information from the cochlear (the hearing device) and the vestibular system (the motion detection device) to the brain. The tumour causes pressure on the nerve and stops it from being able to carry information, resulting in gradual changes. Due to its location inside the head, the tumour can also cause pressure on other structures, leading to a variety of symptoms such as hearing loss, dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness, loss of balance and / or ringing in your ear.

As Vestibular Schwannomas are typically slow growing, the tumour has often been present for some time before being discovered and managed. People often report that their symptoms come on slowly, and many people aren’t aware of the extent of their deficits until comprehensive testing is completed.

While receiving a diagnosis of an Acoustic Neuroma can be a relief, as it helps you make sense of your symptoms, many people are also concerned about what their future holds. Linking in with clinicians who understand your condition and how it progresses over time, (with or without surgery) can be very reassuring.  Physiotherapists are here to help.

Common Symptoms

  • Hearing loss, usually on one side and often gradually worsening over time
  • Ringing (tinnitus) in the affected ear
  • Unsteadiness or loss of balance 
  • Change in ability to participate in tasks or activities
  • Falling over
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Loss of visual focus when turning the head or turning around 
  • Facial numbness and weakness or loss of muscle movement

Causes of Movement-Related Symptoms

  • Pressure on, or damage to, the vestibulocochlear nerve which is responsible for your sense of balance and orientation and hearing
  • Pressure on a part of the brain responsible for coordination (more common with larger tumours)
  • Reduced physical activity due to fear of loss of balance or falls – in turn leading to more movement difficulty and avoidance of participating in life and activities

How can we Help?

No matter what management approach you and your treating specialist have agreed on, a vestibular physiotherapist can be very helpful in providing the reassurance and assistance you need to return to your daily activities. 

People who aren’t having surgery are often afraid of the impact of a growing tumour on their function and longevity. Specially trained vestibular physiotherapists can support you by providing regular objective assessment of your signs and symptoms, to ensure early identification of changes.

If surgery or radiation therapy has been recommended, people may be concerned about what this means for their hearing, balance and long-term function.  Vestibular physiotherapists can track your signs and symptoms before and after surgery or radiation therapy, for as long as necessary. They provide treatment where appropriate, and refer you back to your surgeon or specialist, if there are any specific concerns about your rehabilitation progress.

Our Connected Care Approach

With our unique ‘Connected Care’ approach, our team will expertly help you to prepare for your surgery, provide you with physiotherapy during your hospital stay and while you heal and return to normal activity after surgery. You can connect with your physio in hospital, in our clinics and during our online video consultations.

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview: This helps us to gain a full understanding of your symptoms, medical history and what you hope to achieve from our intervention.
  • Support: We understand how frightening it is to experience vertigo, dizziness and imbalance, so we carefully address your concerns and help you feel confident about participating in assessment and treatment.
  • Physical Assessment: We take a considered approach to assessing your body, head and eye movements and vestibular reflexes, using the latest technology. This enables us to accurately assess your function and develop a customised treatment plan for you.
  • Education: We believe that understanding the findings, condition and aims of treatment is important to your outcome, so we’ll spend time explaining key points.
  • Targeted Treatments: We use specialised treatment methods, such as repositioning techniques, to manage your symptoms.  In some cases, this can lead to immediate improvement in your symptoms and movement. 
  • Progressive Exercise Program: We teach you specially designed exercises and movements to retrain your brain, to enable independence and safely build confidence, capacity, coordination and balance, in line with your lifestyle goals.
  • Communication and Collaboration with your General Practitioner and/or Specialist doctors to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care. 

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium