If you find yourself experiencing tinnitus, vertigo, and fluctuating hearing loss, you may be suffering from Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear condition that can cause disruptions in your hearing and balance.Although doctors can’t yet cure this condition, there are nonetheless things you can do to minimize the symptoms and decrease their effect on your way of life.
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease tend to occur 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. Vertigo is likely to come next, causing you to feel as though the room is spinning around you. 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.
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. Symptoms vary from episode to episode in terms of intensity and duration. Since these symptoms are not unique to Meniere’s disease, it’s very important to check with your physician to rule out other potentially serious health problems.
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. Fluids in the inner ear must be at a certain volume and pressure in order to function properly. There are a number of factors that could trigger abnormalities in this inner ear fluid, including head trauma, viral infections, improper drainage and allergies.
While there is no known way to cure Meniere’s disease, you do have options when it comes to managing its symptoms. Anti-nausea medications can frequently help patients cope with their vertigo. Prescription medications that help reduce fluid retention can also help control the disease. 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.
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.