What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But the impacts are hard to ignore. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this condition. Researchers aren’t really certain why, but for some reason, fluid can build up in the ears and this seems to be the underlying cause of Meniere’s disease.

So here’s the question: how can you deal with something that doesn’t appear to have a discernible cause? The answer is, well, complex.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse as time passes. Those symptoms may include:

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Regrettably, there’s no way to know when these attacks of vertigo may strike or how long they could last.

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

Fullness in the ear: This is experienced as a feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically known as aural fullness.

Hearing loss: In the long run, Meniere’s disease can lead to a loss of hearing.

It’s critical that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many people. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will probably become more persistent.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

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

Some of the most common treatments include the following:

  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is flaring up, You can utilize certain physical therapies that can help with balance. If you’re perpetually dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
  • Diuretic: Another kind of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The concept here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be minimized by decreasing retention of fluid. This medication isn’t used to manage acute symptoms but instead is taken long-term.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially challenging to manage, this non-invasive technique can be utilized. It’s called positive pressure therapy. As a way to minimize fluid accumulation, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem promising.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of specific steroids.
  • Surgery: In some situations, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical procedures will normally only impact the vertigo side of symptoms. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your doctor in some situations. If those particular symptoms manifest, this can be helpful. So, when a bout of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.
  • Hearing aid: It may be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is faltering. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can help your mental health by keeping you socially engaged. There are also numerous ways hearing aids can help manage tinnitus.

The key is getting the treatment that’s best for you

You should get an exam if think you may have Meniere’s disease. The development of Meniere’s disease might be slowed down by these treatments. More frequently, however, they minimize the effect that Meniere’s will have on your day-to-day life.

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.