The emerging role of hearing loss rehabilitation in patients with vestibular schwannoma treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery: literature review


Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is currently the most common treatment for small- to medium-size vestibular schwannoma (VS). Despite favorable outcome, hearing deterioration still remains an underestimated problem, and the role of hearing rehabilitation is an underinvestigated topic. Among available technologies, cochlear implant (CI) should represent a valid alternative in sporadic VS with single-sided deafness and in neurofibromatosis (NF2) with bilateral profound hearing loss. A literature review of the current clinical data was performed searching scientific literature databases. From all of the articles found, 16 papers were selected. Forty-four subjects treated with radiosurgery (18 male, 19 female, and in 7 cases, sex were not specified; 43 NF2 and 1 sporadic VS) were included in the analysis. Epidemiological, clinical, tumor, treatment, and audiological data were collected. Clinical outcome at last follow-up showed an audiological improvement in 25 of the 44 patients. The audiological outcome was unchanged in 16 cases. Audiological deterioration was recorded in 3 cases. Severity of NF2 phenotype, long history of ipsilateral profound deafness before implantation, progressive tumor growth, and high radiation dose (20 and 40 Gy) were found in patients with a worst audiological outcome. Hearing rehabilitation can improve audiological results for VS patients following SRS in selected cases. Hearing rehabilitation with cochlear implant (CI) in SSD leads to partial restoration of binaural hearing with an improvement in speech comprehension in noise and in sound localization, and partial suppression of subjective incapacitating tinnitus. SRS followed by CI may represent in selected cases a potential emerging option in the management of these patients, aimed at improving their quality of life. Possible implications for the follow-up of these patients are still present, although partially resolved.

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Data availability

Data collected are published and available in the public domain.


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Morselli, C., Boari, N., Artico, M. et al. The emerging role of hearing loss rehabilitation in patients with vestibular schwannoma treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery: literature review. Neurosurg Rev 44, 223–238 (2021).

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  • Vestibular schwannoma
  • Hearing loss
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Gamma Knife
  • Cochlear implant
  • Hearing restoration