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Meniere's Disease: What We Know

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 18th December 2019 in: Latest News, Articles
Meniere's Disease: What We Know

Meniere’s is a disorder that effects the inner ear, leading to vertigo and hearing loss.  It is more common in both ears but can affect just one in some cases.  It can develop at any point in your life, but ordinarily occurs between young and middle-aged adulthood. 

Meniere’s is considered a long-term condition with options of treatment to reduce the symptoms and the overall impact it has on your life.  With so many complexities, let's find out what we do know...

Traits

There are a number of symptoms that come with this disease, the main one being persistent spells of vertigo.  A feeling similar to a spinning sensation that disrupts balance, coordination and has the ability to stop and start at different levels.  Therefore, the risk of suffering dangerous falls and accidents is increased.  Most episodes can last anywhere between fifteen minutes and several hours with nauseating effect. 

It usually starts with some level of hearing loss that normally appears in waves and in most cases becomes permanent.  Other traits are tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing and whistling of the ear and aural fullness in the ear – pressure within the affected ear.

These symptoms may sometimes lessen over time – maybe even disappear for a duration.  If you are experiencing any of these signs, seek professional help, as other complications such as fatigue and stress can interrupt your value of life.  As with all medical conditions, an early diagnosis will be the beneficial start to treating this disease and helping you regain control.

Causes

There are no known causes of meniere’s disease currently, other than excessive amounts of endolymph fluid in the inner ear – but even the reasons behind this are unclear.  What we do know is that this fluid is a result of either bad drainage, blockage or anatomic abnormality.  Other reasons could be an abnormal immune response, genetic implications or viral infection.  Due to the lack of identification – a combination of some or all of these factors is a realistic assumption.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease at the moment – however there are a number of ways in which the symptoms can be reduced using non-evasive methods.  On the other hand, there are also aggressive treatments like surgery and injections, which your doctor can explain at your appointment.  Along with hearing aids, which cater for your own unique hearing loss and a successful hearing solution, there are the following methods:

  • There are various types of medication that can be prescribed by your doctor to help with your vertigo and reduce the impact of your episodes.  As well as tackling nausea when you are experiencing feelings of spinning and imbalance.
  • Your doctor may also advice you to take fluid retention medication and to reduce your salt consumption, as this can aid in controlling the frequency of this disease.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation is often a popular type of therapy for those who have meniere’s.  It involves putting pressure on the middle ear to decrease fluid build-up.  This is a treatment that you can do daily at home.  Such devices are known as a Meniett, which applies said pressure via the tympanostomy tube.

Read next: The good & the bad:  Everything you need to know about earwax

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