BACKGROUND: 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 follow-up 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), and NF2 (P=0.045). Traditionally reported hearing outcomes using the Gardner Robertson maintenance of PTA =50 db or WRS =50% were 48% at 3 yr, which overestimates 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.
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