Three of the more identifiable signs and symptoms of Meniere’s disease are vertigo, tinnitus, and fluctuating hearing loss. Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes problems with hearing and balance. Although science hasn’t yet found a cure for this disorder, there are a number of things you can do to decrease its symptoms and minimize its impact on your day-to-day 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. Shortly after these symptoms begin, you may begin to suffer vertigo, a feeling of dizziness not unlike what you might experience after quickly spinning around several times. This dizziness may also come with nausea, vomiting and balance problems. An episode can be as short as twenty minutes and as long as 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”. The frequency and severity of each symptom can vary from episode to episode. Since these symptoms are not unique to Meniere’s disease, it’s very important to check with your physician to rule out other potentially serious health problems.
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. Triggers such as improper drainage, allergies, head trauma, and viral infection could all lead to 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. Be sure to sit or lie down immediately if you are experiencing vertigo, and avoid triggers such as television or bright lights to help lessen an episode’s severity.
Although there are some unpleasant symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease, there are steps that you can take to manage your episodes and reduce the impact they have on your life.