Three of the more identifiable symptoms of Meniere’s disease are tinnitus, vertigo, and intermittent hearing loss. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear condition that can trigger disruptions in your hearing and balance. Whilst medicine hasn’t yet identified a cure for this disease, there are a number of steps you can take to decrease its symptoms and minimize its impact on your day-to-day life.
For many patients with Meniere’s disease, symptoms appear in clusters of episodes. A common starting point of these episodes is a feeling of fullness in the ear that leads to tinnitus and mild hearing loss. After these symptoms begin to appear, patients often begin to experience vertigo, a sort of dizziness that’s often described as feeling as though the room is spinning. You may feel nauseated and your balance may be impaired. An episode may last anywhere from twenty minutes to four 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.
Researchers are still working to determine the cause of Meniere’s disease, but the leading theory is that its symptoms are caused by abnormalities in fluid in the inner ear. Fluids in the inner ear must be at a certain volume and pressure in order to function properly. 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. Anti-nausea medications can frequently help patients cope with their vertigo. Your doctor may also prescribe long-term medications to reduce fluid retention. Hearing aids offer a proven solution for episodes of hearing loss, while rehabilitation has been shown to improve balance during episodes of vertigo. 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.
While the symptoms of Meniere’s disease can certainly pose challenges, the good news is that there are strategies for minimizing them so that patients suffering from this condition can live near-normal lives.