What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to overlook its impact. Some prevalent symptoms of this affliction are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Researchers aren’t really certain why, but for some reason, fluid can build up in the ears and this seems to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.

So the question is: how can you treat something that doesn’t appear to have an identifiable cause? The answer is, well, complex.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that impacts the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse as time passes, for many individuals, because it’s a progressive disorder. Those symptoms may include:

Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will strike and how long they may last can’t be predicted.

Tinnitus: It’s fairly common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to experience ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.

Fullness in the ear: This manifests as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically referred to as aural fullness.

Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can cause hearing loss over time.

It’s critical that you get the proper diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more consistent.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition which has no known cure. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is flaring up, You can employ certain physical therapies that can help with balance. If you’re regularly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to get a hearing aid. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.
  • Medications: In some situations, your physician will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those specific symptoms show up, this can be helpful. So, when a bout of dizziness happens, medication for motion sickness can help decrease that dizziness.
  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The strategy is that decreasing the retention of fluids could help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication is not used to treat extreme symptoms but instead is used long-term.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially challenging to treat, this non-invasive method can be used. It’s called positive pressure therapy. As a way to limit fluid buildup, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term benefits of this method have yet to be borne out by peer-reviewed studies.
  • Surgery: In some cases, Meniere’s disease can be treated with surgery. Typically, however, only the vertigo part of the disease is affected by this surgery. Other Meniere’s symptoms will remain.

Get the correct treatment for you

If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get evaluated. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the progression of your condition. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life despite your condition.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

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