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VESTIBULAR SCHWANNOMA

A 62 year old gentleman presented with a two year history of a “buzzing” sound in his left ear, followed shortly by decreased hearing on the left. When answering the phone, he had to shift the earpiece to his right ear in order to hear properly. He thought his decreased hearing was only because he was getting older, and did not consult a doctor until recently when he also began to have headaches and loss of balance while walking.

On examination, the patient was noted to have decreased hearing on the left ear. He was also found to have problems with balance and coordination. Audiometry, a test used to check hearing, confirmed the hearing loss. MRI of the brain showed a round tumor at the base of the brain, about the size of a golf ball.

The patient underwent surgery for removal of the brain tumor, which turned out to be a vestibular schwannoma. This is a benign tumor which grew from the vestibular nerve, the nerve responsible for hearing and balance.

After the surgery, the patient had some weakness on the left side of the face which improved after a few months. His headache was relieved and his balance improved. He did not need to have any further treatment, but he would have to follow up with his doctor and undergo repeat MRI scans to monitor tumor regrowth.

 

     
 
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