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Hrithik Roshan's film Super 30 is releasing today and the film is based on the life of Patna-based mathematician Anand Kumar. A day before the film's release, Anand Kumar revealed that he is suffering from acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous brain tumour.
What Is Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, acoustic neurinoma, or acoustic neurilemoma is a benign, usually slow-growing tumour that develops on the balance and hearing nerves supplying the inner ear, according to the National Institute Of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
According to the National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD), it affects around 1 in every 100,000 people.
What Causes Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma develops when there is a malfunctioning gene on chromosome 22. Normally, the gene produces a tumour suppressor protein that aids in controlling the growth of Schwann cells covering the healthy nerves in the body. These cells provide insulation and support nerve impulses. If Schwann cells begin multiplying too quickly around the eighth cranial nerve, acoustic neuroma occurs.
Symptoms Of Acoustic Neuroma 
The early symptoms of an acoustic neuroma are subtle and may take many years to develop. The symptoms include the following:
- Facial weakness
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Loss of balance
- Changes in taste
- Difficulty in swallowing
Sizes Of Acoustic Neuroma
- Small - when under 2 cm in size
- Medium - when 2 to 4 cm
- Large - when 4 cm or more
Risk Factors Of Acoustic Neuroma 
- A parent having a rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 2
- Acoustic neuroma appears between the ages of 30 to 60 years
- Exposure to radiation to the head and neck during childhood may increase the risk of acoustic neuroma later in life.
Complications Of Acoustic Neuroma
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ear
- Facial numbness and weakness
- Difficulty in body balance
When To See A Doctor
If you have difficulty in hearing in one ear or ringing in your ear, consult a doctor. Early diagnosis will stop the tumour from growing bigger.
Diagnosis Of Acoustic Neuroma
Just because the symptoms take many years to develop, acoustic neuroma is often difficult to diagnose in the early stages. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and then conduct an ear examination.
The doctor may recommend the following tests:
- Hearing test (audiometry) - To test your hearing, the audiologist present a range of sounds of various tones at faint levels, and will ask you to indicate each time you hear the sound.
- Imaging test - An MRI test can confirm the presence of acoustic neuroma and can detect the tumours which are small as 1 to 2 millimetres in diameter  .
Treatment Of Acoustic Neuroma 
The treatment depends on the age of the individual, general health of the person, location, and tumour size. The treatment options include the following:
Radiosurgery, also called radiation therapy, targets the tumour with radiation. The surgery is performed by first numbing the scalp with local anaesthesia and then attaching a lightweight head frame.
Imaging scans identify the tumour and show the doctor where to apply the radiation beams.
Radiosurgery is an option only if the tumour is 3 cm or less across. The risks of radiation therapy are ringing in the ear, facial weakness, facial numbness, and hearing loss.
In this type of surgery, the surgeon removes all or part of the tumour through an incision in the skull.
In certain cases, the entire tumour can't be removed if the tumour is too close to the brain or the facial nerve. Also sometimes, surgical removal of the tumour may worsen the symptoms.
- Supportive therapy
The doctor may recommend supportive therapies to keep the symptoms or complications under control.
-  Foley, R. W., Shirazi, S., Maweni, R. M., Walsh, K., McConn Walsh, R., Javadpour, M., & Rawluk, D. (2017). Signs and Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma at Initial Presentation: An Exploratory Analysis.Cureus,9(11), e1846.
-  Taiwo, O., Galusha, D., Tessier-Sherman, B., Kirsche, S., Cantley, L., Slade, M. D., … Donoghue, A. M. (2014). Acoustic neuroma: potential risk factors and audiometric surveillance in the aluminium industry.Occupational and environmental medicine,71(9), 624–628.
-  House, J. W., Waluch, V., & Jackler, R. K. (1986). Magnetic resonance imaging in acoustic neuroma diagnosis.Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology,95(1), 16-20.
-  Sanna, M., Taibah, A., Russo, A., Falcioni, M., & Agarwal, M. (2004). Perioperative complications in acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) surgery.Otology & Neurotology,25(3), 379-386.