What is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease is a long term vestibular condition affecting the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. The exact cause is unknown but it is thought to be due to pressure changes in the inner ear. Some people find that certain events and situations, called triggers, can set off the attacks.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is usually divided into 3 stages:
Early stage – The main symptom is intermittent attacks of vertigo which can last from a few minutes to 24 hours. During the attack there may be some hearing loss along with a sensation of fullness in the affected ear. Some people may also experience tinnitus. In between the attacks the hearing and sensation in the ear return to normal.
Intermediate stage – The attacks of vertigo continue with variable remissions however the vertigo is often less severe. Periods of imbalance can also be experienced. Symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus can become more prominent.
Late stage – Often at this stage the attacks of vertigo reduce or completely disappear. People usually experience ongoing symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus and balance difficulties.
Treatment of Meniere’s Disease
Medical treatment of Meniere’s disease may include medication, diet and lifestyle changes, tinnitus management and hearing aids.
Vestibular rehabilitation exercises can be helpful to improve balance and reduce symptoms of vertigo. The goal is to help retrain the ability of the body and brain to process balance information.