Meniere’s disease is a disorder that is related to the inner ear and can lead to hearing loss or Vertigo (dizzy spells). In most cases, Meniere’s disease is prone to affect only one ear. The inner ear is responsible for balance in hearing. It could also cause tinnitus (the sensation of ringing or roaring sounds within the ear), fluctuation in hearing, and a feeling of pressure inside the ear. Meniere’s disease is chronic and can be eased by lifestyle changes and proper treatments. Most people who are diagnosed with this disease get into remission in a few years of their diagnosis.
Meniere’s disease can start at any age but it is most likely to occur in adults within the age group of 4o to 60 years. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, over 615,000 people in America have Meniere’s disease. Many anatomical disorders and external forces like trauma, allergy, genetic, autoimmune, syphilis, viruses, and Low CSF pressure are believed to be the cause of Meniere’s disease. This disorder exhibits many symptoms during the early stages like headache, dizziness, disturbance in balance, sensitivity to sound, etc. These symptoms then take on the intermediate stage that shows signs of fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus, and violent vertigo. During the final stages, Meniere’s disease exhibits symptoms such as, anxiety, fear, eye jerking, trembling, difficulty in balancing or standing straight, complete hearing loss, vomiting, cold perspiration and trembling.
It is not known for certain as to what causes Meniere’s disease. Many scientists believe that it is the effects of changes in the fluid tubes found at the inner ear. When it is not completely known as to what causes it, it is also difficult to find a cure to it. But Meniere’s disease is usually diagnosed by a doctor who would examine your hearing and balance.
A hearing test is usually undertaken to determine if you are experiencing any loss in hearing. During this examination you will have to wear a headphone and the audio frequency of different decibels will be played. You should indicate to the physician when you can and cannot hear certain sounds. An electrocochleography test is done to check the electrical activity of the inner ear. Another test that uses the Auditory brainstem response test examines the hearing center of the brain and the function of the hearing nerves in the brain. These tests determine whether the problem is associated with the ear nerve or the inner ear, making it easy for diagnosing.
Meniere’s disease is chronic and therefore has no cure. There are, however, a range of treatments that have proven to reduce and ease the symptoms of Meniere’s disease like Vestibular is related to the head, neck and eye movements to assess balance in the functions and re-establish the balance system to make the patient more stable. Vestibular rehabilitation takes place based on the ability of the patient where they get customized exercises. Patients are given exercises and as the patient moves and reacts to the exercises, they get easier. A successful Vestibular rehabilitation program gives a result that though patients may still have attacks of vertigo, they would not feel dizziness in between.