Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder of the labyrinth in the inner ear that causes vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing problems. The labyrinth is a system of cavities and canals in the inner ear that affects hearing, balance, and eye movement.

  • Causes

    The cause of Meniere's disease is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of factors. Possible causes include:

    • Rupture in part of the labyrinth, which allows fluid in different compartments to mix
    • Scar tissue, which may cause a blockage in the labyrinth
    • Inner ear injury

  • Definition


    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the labyrinth in the inner ear that causes
    vertigo,
    tinnitus, and hearing problems. The labyrinth is a system of cavities and canals in the inner ear that affects hearing, balance, and eye movement.

    The Inner Ear
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This will include an examination of your ears and a neurologic exam to evaluate for possible nerve damage.

    Tests may include:

    • Blood tests
    • Hearing test
    • Electronystagmogram—looks for abnormal eye movements
    • Auditory brainstem response
    • Electrocochleogram—to check function of the hearing organ in the inner ear
    • MRI scan—to look at internal structures of the ear

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent Meniere's disease. However, to help reduce your risk, avoid the following risk factors:

    • High-salt and high-sugar diets
    • Excess noise
    • Excess alcohol
    • Stress
    • Smoking
    • Avoid medications that can be toxic to the ear

  • Risk Factors

    Meniere's disease is more common in adults aged 20-60 years, and in Caucasians. Other factors that may increase your risk of getting Meniere's disease include:

    • Family history
    • Viral infection
    • Autoimmune disorders
    • Barometric pressure change
    • Stress
    • Hormonal disorders
    • Allergies

    • Certain medications, such as antibiotics and
      chemotherapy
      agents
    • Excess salt in the diet
    • Excess noise

  • Symptoms

    Meniere's disease may cause fluctuating symptoms, which may come on suddenly. They typically involve only one ear, but may involve both. Symptoms include:


    • Episodes of
      vertigo, a spinning sensation while standing still. Vertigo may be accompanied by:

      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Sweating
      • Paleness of the skin
      • Weakness or falling

      • In some cases, headache or
        diarrhea
    • Fluctuating hearing loss
    • Tinnitus, a ringing in one or both ears
    • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
    • Poor sense of balance
    • A tendency for symptoms to worsen with movement

  • Treatment

    There is no cure for Meniere's disease. Treatment focuses on managing your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include one or more of the following: