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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Meniere's Disease

What is Ménière's disease?

Ménière's disease causes hearing loss affecting the inner ear of one ear, the presence of tinnitus and attacks of vertigo. The disease usually starts with the loss of hearing in one ear. This is usually accompanied by tinnitus, which is described by patients as the sound of escaping steam. Many patients ignore this problem until it is followed by an intense attack of vertigo. This condition progresses until deafness is complete.

What causes Ménière's disease?

This condition is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the labyrinth of the inner ears. The cause for this accumulation is not known, however, it has been suggested that it is caused by an allergic reaction or may be due to spasm of small blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of Ménière's disease?

Ménière's disease can be best described by these symptoms:

  • Hearing loss in one ear
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus

How is Ménière's disease diagnosed?

Physicians can suspect a diagnosis of Ménière’s disease from the patient’s medical history and after a detailed physical examination. In addition, this disorder can be diagnosed with audiometry, the caloric test and other investigations.

How is Ménière's disease treated?

This disorder can be difficult to treat and currently there is no definite cure for it. Certain drugs may alleviate the symptoms. These drugs include cyclizine hydrochloride and nicotinic acid. Surgical decompression of the fluid buildup in the inner ear may also relieve vertigo and arrest the further worsening of the problem. If vertigo is difficult to control, the vestibular nerve to the inner ear may also be cut to give relief while preserving hearing.

Some doctors advocate for lifestyle modification in addition to the other treatments. These changes include decreasing the dietary salt intake, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and smoking cessation.

What are the complications of Ménière's disease?

If uncontrolled, Ménière's disease may result in complete hearing loss of the affected ear. In addition, vertigo may put the patient at risk if this occurs while driving or even falling while standing. Because it is difficult to treat, there is a risk of depression among affected individuals.

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