I was recently diagnosed with 2.1cm AN on my left side after having some hearing loss. I am 42 yrs old and also have some balance issues for a number of years, even before the hearing loss, but didn't realize what had been causing those until I learned about acoustic neuromas. I am still able to talk on the phone in my left ear and am definitely leaning toward radiation over micro surgery because radiation has a higher likelihood of preserving hearing. However, i was a little disappointed to hear the radiologist I consulted with indicate that my hearing will likely decrease at the same rate it would if my tumor was left untreated. Based on audiograms I've had done over the last several years, I'm estimating that I'd probably lose serviceable hearing by 5 years. I would love to hear about other radiation patients' hearing outcomes.
Also, some posts on this forum have mentioned that balance outcomes with radiation may not be as favorable as with microsurgery. Perhaps this is because in microsurgery often the damage balance nerve is cut and the brain begins only working off the other side, whereas with radiation the brain continues to receive input from the damaged balance nerve. I know that with both microsurgery and radiation, vestibular therapy is key and can help most folks get back to where they were, or better, before treatment. But I wonder whether radiation is less advantageous at the outset of starting vestibular therapy and would love to hear others thoughts on this.
Last, I've read that the delay between radiation treatment and when it actually takes effect on the tumor (sometimes 6-18 mos) can allow the tumor to continue to grow and/or harm balance and hearing.
Thank you so much for your help!