Meniere’s Disease Evaluation

Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder of the inner ear that affects hearing and balance. It is named after the French physician Prosper Meniere, who first described and discovered the condition in the 1860s.

To date, the exact cause of Meniere’s disease is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be related to a build-up of fluid in the inner ear. The fluid build-up causes pressure that can cause vertigo (a spinning sensation), tinnitus (ringing in the ear), hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.

Our clinic can help address hearing issues related to Meniere’s disease. We may recommend you to a physician or specialist if we identify any other medical concerns linked to Meniere’s disease.

Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that can affect balance and hearing. The symptoms of Meniere’s disease usually manifest suddenly and can last for a few hours to several days. The frequency and severity of the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some may experience mild, ignorable symptoms, while others experience severe symptoms to the point of being disruptive to daily life.

Here are some common symptoms:

Vertigo: This is the sensation of the environment spinning around you, which can lead to a loss of balance and nausea or vomiting. Vertigo attacks can last from a few minutes to a few hours, and they can be so severe that they cause falls.

Tinnitus: This refers to a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the affected ear.

Hearing Loss: Meniere’s disease often begins with fluctuating hearing loss, eventually becoming more constant as the disease progresses. Hearing loss typically affects lower frequencies at first but over time can impact all frequencies.

Aural Fullness: This is a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear, often on one side.

Fatigue & Anxiety: Attacks of Meniere’s disease can be unpredictable and disruptive, leading to anxiety about when the next attack will occur. Following a vertigo attack, a person may also feel exhausted or fatigued.

Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and the intensity or frequency of attacks can differ too.

Causes of Meniere’s Disease

As we mentioned, the exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Some other theories and medically-accepted causes of Meniere’s disease include:

  1. Increase of fluid pressure in the inner ear: The increase in fluid pressure may be triggered by a problem with the drainage of fluid from the inner ear or an increase in the amount of fluid produced.
  1. Viral infections or problems with the immune system (an autoimmune reaction)
  1. Chronic migraines
  1. Allergies
  1. Certain medications
  1. Genetics

While the exact cause of Meniere’s disease is yet to be discovered, medical practitioners have ruled out that the conditions are not caused by loud noises.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of Meniere’s disease, it is important to see an audiologist for proper evaluation and treatment.

Meniere’s Disease Diagnosis and Treatment 

Diagnosing Meniere’s disease entails a thorough medical evaluation. This includes a review of the patient’s symptoms and medical history, a physical examination, and a battery of hearing and balance tests. 

These tests may include hearing tests, vestibular function tests (balance tests), and MRI or CT scans of the inner ear.

In some cases, electrocochleography (ECOG) may be used to help diagnose Meniere’s disease. ECOG is a procedure that measures the electrical activity of the inner ear in response to sound. The results of ECOG can provide valuable information about the status of the inner ear and its potential involvement in Meniere’s disease.

How do you deal with Meniere’s attacks?

If you have Meniere’s disease, it is important to work with your physician to develop a plan to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. 

Below are some strategies that may help:

  • Diet and lifestyle modifications: Avoiding alcohol and limiting salt and caffeine intake can help reduce fluid buildup in the inner ear which may reduce the frequency of attacks.
  • Take medications: You may be given medications to relieve symptoms. For example, Diuretics may also be helpful in reducing fluid buildup in the inner ear.
  • Stress management: Finding ways to manage stress, such as relaxation techniques, yoga, exercise, deep breathing, or meditation, may help you get through Meniere’s attacks.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation: This type of therapy can help improve balance and reduce the frequency and severity of Meniere’s disease symptoms.

South County Hearing Services: Meniere’s Disease Diagnosis and Evaluation

The goal of the evaluation and diagnosis of Meniere’s disease is to accurately pinpoint the underlying cause of the symptoms so we can come up with the best course of treatment.

Our clinic can help address hearing issues related to Meniere’s disease. We may recommend you to a physician or specialist if we identify any other medical concerns linked to Meniere’s disease.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Learn more about how we can help.

We offer solutions that include hearing aids, assistive devices, aural rehabilitation, tinnitus treatment, and custom hearing protection.