In meniere’s disease, the fluid in the inner ear increases from time to time. The raised pressure in the inner ear disturbs the organs of hearing and balance, causing sudden attacks of ringing in the ears and severe dizziness.
Attacks of Meniere’s disease occur suddenly and may last from a few minutes to several days before gradually subsiding.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
The symptoms may include:
- sudden, severe dizziness and loss of balance (vertigo)
- nausea and vomiting
- abnormal, jerky eye movements
- ringing or buzzing noises in the affected ear (tinnitus)
- loss of hearing, particularly of low-pitched sounds
- feeling of pressure in the affected ear.
The time between attacks of Meniere’s
disease ranges from a few days to years. Tinnitus may be constant or occur only during an attack. Between attacks, vertigo and nausea cease and hearing may improve. With repeated attacks, hearing can deteriorate progressively.
Diagnosed of Meniere’s Disease
- Your doctor may arrange for hearing tests to assess your hearing loss.
- Tests such as CT (computerized tomography) scanning or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are also done.
Treatment of Meniere’s Disease
- You may be prescribed drugs to relieve nausea (anti-emetic drugs).
- An antihistamine may give further relief from nausea and vertigo and reduce the frequency of the episodes.
- Sedative drugs such as diazepam may be prescribed to relieve vertigo, and diuretic drugs may be used to help prevent further attacks.
- During an attack, lie still with your eyes closed and avoid noise, perhaps by wearing ear plugs.
- Between attacks, try to avoid stress.
- Relaxation techniques may be helpful.
- A low-salt diet may help – don’t add salt to cooking or use with food, and avoid very salty foods such as smoked fish and sausage.
For people with disabling vertigo, an operation to sever the nerve between part of the inner ear and the brain is the last resort. The operation cures the vertigo and may prevent loss of hearing.
What Is The Outlook?
- The symptoms of Meniere’s disease are usually improved with medication.
- The frequency and severity of the episodes tend to decrease over a period of years.
- However, hearing usually worsens progressively with each successive attack, and permanent hearing loss may be the end result.
- By the time hearing loss becomes severe, the other symptoms have usually disappeared.