Long-Term Hearing Outcomes Following Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Vestibular Schwannoma Patients

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, (4), October 2019, 550–559

An understanding of the hearing outcomes is needed for treatment counseling for patients with vestibular schwannomas (VS).

OBJECTIVE: To determine long-term hearing results following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for VS and identify any influential variables.

METHODS: Tertiary hospital retrospective cohort.

RESULTS: There were 579 tumors (576 patients) treated with SRS. Eighty-two percent (473) of tumors had ≥1 yr and 59% (344 ≥3 yr follow-up. In the 244 tumor ears, with measurable hearing before SRS who were followed ≥1 yr, 14% (31) had improved hearing, 13% (29) unchanged hearing, and 74% (158) had worsened hearing. In 175 patients with ≥3 yr followup and who had measurable hearing pretreatment, 6% (11 ears) improved hearing, 31% (54 ears) unchanged hearing, and 63% (110 ears) had worsened hearing. Patients with tumors with larger target volumes (P = 0.040) and with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2; P = 0.017) were associated with poorer hearing (P = 0.040). Patients with word recognition scores (WRS) of 50% or poorer had tumors with a larger volume (P = 0.0002), larger linear size (P=0.032),andNF2(P=0.045).TraditionallyreportedhearingoutcomesusingtheGardner RobertsonmaintenanceofPTA ≤50dborWRS≥50%were48%at3yr,whichoverestimates hearing outcomes compared to the above reporting standards.

CONCLUSION: Hearing declines over time in VS treated with SRS in a high proportion of cases. The frequency and magnitude of long-term hearing decline following SRS argues against prophylactic radiation for small tumors in hearing ears with undetermined growth behavior.