The cause of Meniere’s isn’t really understood. But it’s difficult to overlook its impact. Some common symptoms of this condition are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Scientists aren’t really certain why, but for some reason, fluid can accumulate in the ears and this appears to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.
So the question is: how can you address something that doesn’t seem to have an identifiable cause? It’s a complicated answer.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
Meniere’s disease is a persistent condition that affects the inner ear. For many people, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse over time. Those symptoms could include:
Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will occur and how long they may last can’t be predicted.
Tinnitus: It’s fairly common for people with Meniere’s disease to have ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.
Fullness in the ear: This symptom is medically called aural fullness, the feeling of pressure in your ear.
Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can cause hearing loss over time.
If you experience these symptoms, it’s necessary to get a definitive diagnosis. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will probably become more consistent.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition which has no known cure. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.
Some of the most common treatments include the following:
- Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some cases. This can help when those particular symptoms occur. So, when a bout of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The concept is that decreasing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This is a long-term medication that you’d use instead of one to minimize severe symptoms.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to address Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will typically only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive method used when Meniere’s is particularly challenging to manage. It’s called positive pressure therapy. As a way to minimize fluid buildup, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. Peer review has not, as of yet, confirmed the long-term advantages of this approach but it does seem promising.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy techniques that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re constantly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
- Hearing aid: It might be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is failing. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
The key is getting the treatment that’s right for you
If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the progress of your condition. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life in spite of your condition.