What is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere disease is a syndrome in which you experience episodes of
spinning vertigo (sense of the room spinning),
hearing loss, and
tinnitus (ringing in the ear).
Between the unpredictable attacks, you usually do not have any problems or symptoms of the disease.
Meniere disease was first described in 1861 by the French physician Prosper Meniere. Yet the cause of this syndrome still remains largely unknown.
The diagnosis of the disease is usually based on a careful history and physical examination by a doctor, but other tests may be needed for a definitive diagnosis and to plan treatment options.
Meniere disease affects people of all ages, especially those of middle age or older. It is, however, uncommon in children.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
The most common causes of the disease are still unknown. It is suspected that food allergy may play a part. Some suspect that Meniere disease is the response of the inner ear to injury. In any case, if someone in your family has it, you are at higher risk for developing it.
What Are the Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease?
Warning symptoms such as fullness or pressure in one ear may come before an acute episode of the disease, or attacks may occur spontaneously.
Common symptoms are these:
Fluctuating hearing loss with distortion of sounds (especially lower tones) and difficulty with speech discrimination
Ringing in the affected ear (tinnitus)
A sense of the room spinning (vertigo)
A cold sweat, nausea, and vomiting, or generalized weakness during the attack
The episodes are unpredictable and usually last from 1 hour to a few hours, depending on the severity of the disease.
Recurrence of the attacks is a cardinal feature of Meniere disease. Typically the attacks are few, but the usual pattern of Meniere disease is increasing frequency and severity of the symptoms. The disease can be very disabling as the frequency and severity of the attacks increases.
Early in the disease, the symptoms usually go away in several hours, but hearing loss may take a day or more to return to normal. Hearing loss can become permanent and, due to changes in the middle ear, may lead to intolerance of any loud noises.
How Can I Prevent Meniere’s Disease?
No measures will prevent Meniere disease, but you can take preventive measures to avoid or minimize attacks and consequences of attacks.
Reduce salt in your diet.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Avoid exposure to loud noises.
Use caution at home and on the job to avoid falling or having an accident if you feel dizzy.