Three of the more recognizable indication of Meniere’s disease are tinnitus, vertigo, and fluctuating hearing loss. This condition affects your inner ear, causing you to experience symptoms that disrupt your hearing and balance. Although there is no identified cure for this disorder, there are steps that you can take to help reduce the impact it has on your life.
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease tend to occur in clusters of episodes. An episode may begin with a feeling of fullness in the ear accompanied by tinnitus and a decrease in hearing. 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 may last anywhere from twenty minutes to four hours.
It is common for Meniere’s disease episodes to appear in clusters, with individuals enjoying periods of ‘remission’ between groups of episodes. Individual symptoms can vary a great deal in both duration and severity from episode to episode. Vertigo can sometimes signify a more serious condition, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you find yourself experiencing this symptom.
Researchers are still working to determine the cause of Meniere’s disease, but the leading theory is that its symptoms are caused by abnormalities in fluid in the inner ear. Scientists have discovered that the amount and pressure of fluid in the inner ear is critical to your hearing and balance. Triggers such as improper drainage, allergies, head trauma, and viral infection could all lead to fluid abnormalities.
Even though there is no method to cure Meniere’s disease, there are ways to manage the symptoms. If you experience nausea during episodes of vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medications to help you feel more comfortable. Your doctor may also prescribe long-term medications to reduce fluid retention. Hearing aids offer a proven solution for episodes of hearing loss, while rehabilitation has been shown to improve balance during episodes of vertigo. The effects of vertigo may also be lessened by sitting or lying down as soon as possible after an episode starts and by avoiding triggers that seem to make vertigo symptoms worse.
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.