Complications of an acoustic neuroma 

The symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can affect your day-to-day life, but more serious complications are rare.

Coping with your symptoms

Some symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can be difficult to live with and may affect your quality of life. For example, hearing impairment may have an impact on your job and communication may be more difficult. Severe dizziness and loss of balance may also affect your job and limit the activities you can do.

Speak to your GP or specialist if your acoustic neuroma is being monitored but you feel the symptoms are significantly affecting your daily life. There may be ways of easing your symptoms, such as using a hearing aid or painkilling medication, or you may need treatment to remove the tumour.

Read more about treating hearing loss and treating tinnitus.


Occasionally, acoustic neuromas return after being removed. The tumours reoccur in less than five in every 100 people who have surgery to remove them.

It's likely that you'll need to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans over a number of years, regardless of which treatment you have.


One of the most serious complications of acoustic neuroma is a condition called hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus occurs when an acoustic neuroma is very large and presses on your brainstem (the lowest part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord).

This prevents the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from flowing between your brain and spinal cord. The blockage can cause pressure to build up inside your skull, which in turn puts pressure on the delicate tissues in your brain.

Hydrocephalus can be treated by draining away the excess CSF. It's important that it's treated quickly because in severe cases it can cause brain damage. In rare cases, hydrocephalus can be fatal.

Page last reviewed: 16/06/2014

Next review due: 16/06/2016