Acoustic neuroma is a sluggish-growing noncancerous tumor of the Vestibulocochlear nerve, which is vital for balance and hearing functions. This abnormal growth surfaces from the Schwann cells responsible for sustaining insulation of peripheral nerves. This results in loss of hearing, difficulty maintaining coordination and balance as well as ringing in the ears or tinnitus. The mass of the tumor when initially diagnosed is variable and in several cases, it can be quite hefty. The effect may even extend to the Cranial Nerves for visual function. Both sexes are affected equally and incidence peaks in the fifth and sixth decades. It accounts for 8% of intracranial tumors and approximately 1 in every 100,000 individuals may be affected.
It has a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to walk secondary to instability in gait and balance placing the person at high risk for falls and injury. The person will also exhibit an impairment in hearing, speaking, and possibly will also affect swallowing/gag reflex when the tumor is too large affecting other cranial nerves. With hearing loss, the person becomes slightly or moderately ineffectual in engaging in conversation. With these being said, Acoustic neuroma may immensely affect a person emotionally by causing shame, anxiety, distress and diminishing self-esteem. All these deficiencies in daily function makes a person with Acoustic neuroma an eligible candidate for availing Canada’s disability tax credit under hearing, speech, swallowing, visual, walking and emotional problems.
One known risk factor is prolonged contact with soaring levels of radiation. On the other hand, healthcare providers are uncertain of any other contributory factors.
Frequently, symptoms exhibited by a person with Acoustic neuroma are vertigo/dizziness, ringing in the ear or tinnitus, deteriorating or loss of hearing in one ear, impaired balance and coordination, impaired speech and swallowing reflex, facial tingling or numbness and double vision. However, since many of these symptoms may pinpoint to other, less serious illness, Acoustic neuroma is frequently diagnosed accurately and more often remains undetected.
At this moment in time, treatment options available for Acoustic neuroma are serial imaging studies, periodic observation of the individual’s neurological status, and use of hearing aid when fitting. Partial or total extraction of the tumor through microsurgery, and radiotherapy techniques are the best way to get rid of the budding tumor. Several factors that influence the most favorable curative strategy include the patient’s age, tumor dimensions and growth rate, symptoms present, degree of hearing prior to treatment, the surgeon’s competency, and the person’s own preferences. Comprehensive and clear counseling is essential with regards to the risks and benefits of each option.
Disability Tax Credits for Acoustic Neuroma
HandyTax specializes in disability tax credits for disabled Canadians. Talk with a HandyTax representative about getting your tax refund. We will review your previous years income tax returns to see if you have missed anything.