Surgery and radiation are often used to treat a tumor in the ear, explains Cleveland Clinic. Common ear tumors include ear canal cancer, glomus tumor and acoustic neuroma.
Ear canal cancer surgery involves removing the eardrum, the hearing bones and the ear canal itself, reports Cleveland Clinic. Hearing loss results, but the surgery is 85 percent successful when diagnosed early and the tumor is confined to the ear canal. Tumors in advanced stages require radiation and additional surgeries.
A glomus tumor can paralyze the face, damage ear structures and possibly affect brain function, claims Cleveland Clinic. Surgery is recommended for a glomus tumor that is limited to the ear, since the procedure produces minimal complications. When the glomus tumor spreads to the neck, complications and side effects of surgery are more severe, and gamma-knife radiation is the recommended therapy.
A benign tumor of the balance nerve is called an acoustic neuroma, relates Cleveland Clinic. Small tumors are observed for six to 12 months, while larger ones are surgically removed in healthy younger patients. Elderly patients in poor health with large, growing tumors receive gamma-knife radiation. Sometimes hearing loss is avoided when the tumor is small, and facial weakness sometimes occurs after surgery. In nearly all cases the acoustic neuroma is completely removed.