Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo (dizziness) and intermittent hearing loss are three of the more discernable indications of a condition called “Meniere’s disease”. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear condition that may cause disruptions in your hearing and balance.Although science has not yet discovered a cure for this disorder, there are several things you can do to decrease its symptoms and lessen its effect on your day-to-day life.
Many people experience Meniere’s disease symptoms in episodes. An episode may begin with a feeling of fullness in the ear accompanied by tinnitus and a decrease in hearing. Vertigo is likely to come next, causing you to feel as though the room is spinning around you. You may feel nauseated and your balance may be impaired. Episodes vary in length, sometimes ending as quickly as twenty minutes or lasting for hours.
Many people who suffer from Meniere’s disease experience several such episodes in a short period of time with long periods of ‘remission’ in between. The frequency and severity of each symptom can vary from episode to episode. Vertigo can sometimes signify a more serious condition, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you find yourself experiencing this symptom.
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. Scientists have discovered that the amount and pressure of fluid in the inner ear is critical to your hearing and balance. Allergies, head trauma, improper drainage, and viral infections may act as triggers for these fluid abnormalities.
While there is no known way to cure Meniere’s disease, you do have options when it comes to managing its symptoms. If you experience nausea during episodes of vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you feel more comfortable. Physicians may also prescribe drugs that reduce fluid retention as a way to control the disorder. Rehabilitation and hearing aids can help manage vertigo and hearing loss. The effects of vertigo may also be lessened by sitting or lying down as soon as possible after an episode starts and by avoiding triggers that seem to make vertigo symptoms worse.
Meniere’s disease does carry some uncomfortable symptoms, but with the help of your doctor it does not need to significantly disrupt your life.