I was a Toronto girl until a few months ago. You will see from my siggie that I am also the proud owner of a very small AN (actually, marginally larger than yours ... but then, around here, one could just say that is simply the difference in the MRI machine!)
I was diagnosed just over two years ago - I would have been 36 years old (I think, maybe 37 years old). I hadn't even noticed my tinnitus (but it must have been there) but had a routine hearing test as part of a work medical package. My hearing loss is very minor - at the time about 30db PTA (pure tone average) with good word recognition. Regardless, unilateral hearing loss is a bit of a flag (not a definitive one mind you) for an acoustic neuroma. I was referred to Dr. Rutka at Toronto General (Yardtick, aka Anne Marie also goes to Rutka).
Like MK (Marianna) indicated, Canadian doctors favor conservative management (watch & wait) - Dr. Rutka has written numerous papers (published in good medical journals!) on the topic. I have a copy of his 10 year study follow up on W&W if you are interested (PM me please if you are interested). According to his study, something like 67% of small AN tumors don't show any noticeable growth in 10 years and most who will fail conservative management, will fail within three years. [I am three years this year, fingers crossed for no growth at my July MRI.] Follow up is key, hearing loss is definite but potential no worse than having any treatment (GK or surgery).
I am W&W. I am young-ish (now, turning 40 later this year), mother of four very very very active children (oldest is 8 years old), I work full time, and heck just quit a good job in Toronto and moved everyone to Calgary for a new opportunity. This tumor doesn't slow me down - I am lucky as some people on these forums are severely impacted by symptoms, post-treatment issues and fast growing tumors. I do stagger at times, and my hearing is weak in noisy situations (did I say I had four children - this house isn't quiet and I misunderstand my husband a lot. I get creative with my interpretation because 'whaaaat'? gets boring fast.)
I acknowledge I will lose my hearing (regardless of the choice of treatment), I may need treatment this year, next year, five years, ten years or maybe twenty years down the road. I can't guess. I know I won't die from this tumor. I am diligent about my care, I know my options, and always make sure I go to my appointments as they are dictated by my doctors. I can't do much more than that - so I don't worry too much about it.
I should also say that I am tremendously upbeat, find humor in almost everything and a bit energetic so alas, you get the positivity of my mood tonight.
Do your research, I would suggest asking your GP for an ENT referral who can manage your case (and offer you conservative management supervision should you chose that route - I wouldn't want to be with a GP if I was going for the long haul. I would highly recommend Dr. Rutka - ANs are one of his specialities. If you aren't close to Toronto, we also have an Ottawa person ... Tenai(
) who will have some suggestions for ENTs) The Gamma Knife centre in Toronto can offer you management care if you want to go the GK route. I HIGHLY doubt neurosurgeons will offer any type of long term care - it isn't their strength. Also, don't expect any warm fuzzy supportive comments from neurosurgeons or the GK centre - a few of us can say how discouraging the appointments were from some of our referrals.
Tell your kids - my kids know I am losing my hearing and can't hear well in noisy environments. I told them something is growing in my ear/head and I won't die from it. (I think my eight year old knows I have tumor - but again, not a big deal to me, not a big deal to her.) Obviously, your kids are older so are even better able to manage the truth - a benign cranial based tumor (you don't necessarily have to refer to it as a brain tumor - mine isn't a 'brain' tumor due to its location - however, everyone is a bit different!)
Good luck, stick around - a very supportive group. People can have very similar tumor sizes but will chose very different treatments. Everyone is different and luckily for most of us here with small tumors, the choice is typically our own - no wrong answers.