Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo, tinnitus, and episodic hearing loss. It may affect one ear or alternate between both. There is no cure, but treatments to control dizziness can help patients manage the condition.
Symptoms & Causes
The main symptoms of Meniere’s Disease are:
- Vertigo. Vertigo is a feeling of unsteadiness or dizziness characterized by a sensation that the room is spinning. In severe cases, this may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Patients with Meniere’s disease experience recurring episodes of vertigo that come on without warning and may last up to 24 hours.
- Tinnitus. This is a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whooshing, or hissing sound in the ears.
- Hearing loss. In the early stages of Meniere’s disease, hearing loss fluctuates, coming and going. In most patients, it eventually becomes permanent.
- Fullness or pressure in the ear. Those with Meniere’s disease often report a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.
The exact cause of Meniere’s Disease is unknown. It is related to an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear that may be triggered by a blockage in the ear canal, allergies, viral infections, head trauma, migraines, or genetics.
Since Meniere’s disease is incurable, treatments focus on managing symptoms. Motion sickness and anti-nausea medications may be prescribed for use during episodes of vertigo. Diuretics, which reduce fluid retention, can help your body regulate the volume of fluid in the inner ear.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy involves exercises designed to help your body and brain learn how to process balance information. Hearing aids can help improve your hearing.
Middle ear injections may be recommended for those suffering from severe vertigo; certain antibiotics and steroids can help control these attacks. Surgery is an option for those whose symptoms do not respond to other treatments.