Three of the most recognizable indication of Meniere’s disease are tinnitus, vertigo, and fluctuating hearing loss. This disorder strikes your inner ear, causing you to experience symptoms that disturb your hearing and balance. Although medical science has not yet found a cure for this disorder, there are a number of things you can do to reduce its symptoms and minimize its effect on your day-to-day life.
For many patients with Meniere’s disease, symptoms appear 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. Shortly after these symptoms begin, you may begin to suffer vertigo, a feeling of dizziness not unlike what you might experience after quickly spinning around several times. This vertigo may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and balance impairment. An episode can be as short as twenty minutes and as long as four hours.
It is common for Meniere’s disease episodes to appear in clusters, with individuals enjoying periods of ‘remission’ between groups of episodes. 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. Your ear relies on very specific levels of fluid volume and pressure to function as it should. Triggers such as improper drainage, allergies, head trauma, and viral infection could all lead to fluid abnormalities.
Even though there is no method to cure Meniere’s disease, there are ways to manage the symptoms. People who experience nausea as a result of vertigo can use anti-nausea medications to alleviate their symptoms. 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. Sitting or lying down immediately if you begin to notice vertigo can help you avoid falls, while avoiding triggers that make your symptoms worse (such as bright lights or reading) can help lessen the severity of the episode.
Meniere’s disease does carry some uncomfortable symptoms, but with the help of your doctor it does not need to significantly disrupt your life.