No one’s really sure what causes Meniere’s disease. But the impacts are difficult to underestimate. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all common symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that buildup initially.
So the question is: if something doesn’t have an identifiable cause, how can it be addressed? The answer is, well, complex.
Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a persistent condition that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow over time, for many people, because it’s a progressive condition. Those symptoms may include:
Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine when these attacks of vertigo will strike or how long they will last.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively 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 manifests as a feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically called aural fullness.
Hearing loss: Eventually, Meniere’s disease can result in a loss of hearing.
If you notice these symptoms, it’s necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as time passes, symptoms may become more regular and obvious.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is chronic and progressive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.
The following are some of those treatments:
- Medications: In some situations, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those particular symptoms show up, this can be helpful. For instance, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo occurs.
- Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially challenging to treat, this non-invasive approach can be employed. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. In order to minimize fluid buildup, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term advantages of this approach have yet to be borne out by peer-reviewed studies.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
- Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. Normally, however, only the vertigo side of the disease is impacted by this surgery. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss gets worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially engaged. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.
- 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 dealing with vertigo, this strategy might be warranted.
- Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that might be prescribed by your physician. The idea is that reducing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication isn’t used to treat acute symptoms but instead is used long-term.
The key is getting the treatment that’s right for you
You should get checked out if suspect you may have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the progression of your condition. But these treatments more frequently help you have a greater quality of life despite your condition.