What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not really understood. But the impacts are difficult to ignore. Some common symptoms of this condition are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to stem from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really sure what causes that buildup to begin with.

So here’s the question: if a condition doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be addressed? It’s a complex answer.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a persistent condition that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse as time passes, for many individuals, because it’s a progressive disease. Here are some of those symptoms:

Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when these episodes of vertigo may occur or how long they will 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 manifests as a feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically referred to as aural fullness.

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

It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But eventually, symptoms can become more consistent and obvious.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is chronic and progressive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any treatments.

The following are a few of those treatments:

  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy techniques that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. This approach may be a practical strategy if you’re experiencing regular dizziness or vertigo.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some cases. This can help when those specific symptoms appear. For instance, medications made to help with motion sickness may help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo occurs.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially hard to treat, this non-invasive method can be utilized. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this therapy. In order to limit fluid accumulation, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is promising, the long-term advantages of this approach have yet to be borne out by peer-reviewed research.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that may be prescribed by your physician. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be minimized by decreasing retention of fluid. This is a long-term medication that you’d use instead of one to decrease acute symptoms.
  • Surgery: In some cases, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. Typically, however, only the vertigo side of the disease is impacted by this surgery. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Steroid shots: Injections of specific kinds of steroids can temporarily help relieve some Meniere’s symptoms, especially in regards to vertigo.
  • 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 failing. 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 several ways.

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

You should get an exam if suspect you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the progression of your condition. More often, however, they minimize the impact that Meniere’s will have on your everyday life.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.