The cause of Meniere’s isn’t well understood. But the effects are hard to dismiss. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really sure what causes that buildup to begin with.
So the question is: if something doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be managed? The answer is, well, complex.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse over time, for many people, because it’s a progressive disease. Those symptoms could include:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when these episodes of vertigo may strike or how long they could last.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for individuals 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 sensation of pressure in your ear.
Hearing loss: Over time, Meniere’s disease can result in a loss of hearing.
If you notice these symptoms, it’s necessary to receive a definitive diagnosis. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But as time passes, symptoms may become more regular and noticeable.
Treatment for Menier’s disease
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition for which there is no known cure. But there are a few ways to deal with the symptoms.
The following are some of those treatments:
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re regularly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of specific steroids.
- Medications: In some instances, your physician will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those specific symptoms manifest, this can be helpful. So, when an episode of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help relieve that dizziness.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive technique used when Meniere’s is especially challenging to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this treatment. This therapy entails exposing the inner ear to positive pressure in order to limit fluid buildup. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem promising.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss gets worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the progress of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The idea is that decreasing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication is not used to manage extreme symptoms but instead is used long-term.
- Surgery: Occasionally, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. However, these surgical techniques will normally only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will remain.
Find the right treatment for you
You should get checked out if think you may have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the advancement of your condition. But these treatments more often help you have a better quality of life in spite of your condition.