Three of the most identifiable signs and symptoms of Meniere’s disease are vertigo, tinnitus, and intermittent hearing loss. Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that can trigger disruptions in your hearing and balance.While there is no identified cure for this condition, there are actions that you can take to help reduce the effect it has on your life.
Many people experience Meniere’s disease symptoms in episodes. A common starting point of these episodes is a feeling of fullness in the ear that leads to tinnitus and mild hearing loss. After these symptoms begin to appear, patients often begin to experience vertigo, a sort of dizziness that’s often described as feeling as though the room is spinning. You may feel nauseated and your balance may be impaired. An episode may last anywhere from twenty minutes to four hours.
Clusters of these Meniere’s disease episodes (multiple episodes occurring within a short period of time) are sometimes separated by longer, symptom-free periods of “remission”. Symptoms vary from episode to episode in terms of intensity and duration. Vertigo can sometimes signify a more serious condition, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you find yourself experiencing this symptom.
Medical researchers and clinicians are not certain what causes Meniere’s disease, but some experts believe that it may have to do with abnormal volume or composition of inner ear fluid. Scientists have discovered that the amount and pressure of fluid in the inner ear is critical to your hearing and balance. Allergies, head trauma, improper drainage, and viral infections may act as triggers for these fluid abnormalities.
While there is no known way to cure Meniere’s disease, you do have options when it comes to managing its symptoms. If you experience nausea during episodes of vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you feel more comfortable. Physicians may also prescribe drugs that reduce fluid retention as a way to control the disorder. Rehabilitation can help counteract the balance problems associated with vertigo, while hearing aids can help during episodes of 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.