If you find yourself experiencing tinnitus, vertigo, and intermittent hearing loss, you could be afflicted with Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes problems with hearing and balance. While there is no identified cure for this condition, there are steps that you can take to help reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease tend to occur in clusters of episodes. Individual episodes often share a common starting point, with a feeling of fullness in the ear that progresses to tinnitus and a small degree of hearing loss. After these symptoms begin to appear, patients often begin to experience vertigo, a sort of dizziness that’s often described as feeling as though the room is spinning. This vertigo may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and balance impairment. An episode may last anywhere from twenty minutes to four hours.
Clusters of these Meniere’s disease episodes (multiple episodes occurring within a short period of time) are sometimes separated by longer, symptom-free periods of “remission”. The frequency and severity of each symptom can vary from episode to episode. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.
There is no clear cause of Meniere’s disease, but researchers theorize that abnormalities in the volume or composition of fluids in the inner ear may be to blame. Fluids in the inner ear must be at a certain volume and pressure in order to function properly. There are a number of factors that could trigger abnormalities in this inner ear fluid, including head trauma, viral infections, improper drainage and allergies.
Despite the fact that Meniere’s disease has no known cure, it’s symptoms can often be successfully managed. If you experience nausea during episodes of vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you feel more comfortable. Your doctor may also prescribe long-term medications to reduce fluid retention. Hearing aids offer a proven solution for episodes of hearing loss, while rehabilitation has been shown to improve balance during episodes of vertigo. Be sure to sit or lie down immediately if you are experiencing vertigo, and avoid triggers such as television or bright lights to help lessen an episode’s severity.
Meniere’s disease does carry some uncomfortable symptoms, but with the help of your doctor it does not need to significantly disrupt your life.