Three of the most identifiable symptoms of Meniere’s disease are vertigo, tinnitus, and fluctuating hearing loss. This condition affects your inner ear, causing you to have symptoms that disturb your balance and hearing. Although doctors can’t yet cure this disease, there are nevertheless steps you can take to minimize the symptoms and reduce their impact on your daily life.
Many people experience Meniere’s disease symptoms in episodes. An episode may begin with a feeling of fullness in the ear accompanied by tinnitus and a decrease in hearing. After these symptoms begin to appear, patients often begin to experience vertigo, a sort of dizziness that’s often described as feeling as though the room is spinning. You may feel nauseated and your balance may be impaired. An episode may last anywhere from twenty minutes to 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”. Individual symptoms can vary a great deal in both duration and severity from episode to episode. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.
Researchers are still working to determine the cause of Meniere’s disease, but the leading theory is that its symptoms are caused by abnormalities in fluid in the inner ear. 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. Anti-nausea medications can frequently help patients cope with their vertigo. Physicians may also prescribe drugs that reduce fluid retention as a way to control the disorder. Rehabilitation and hearing aids can help manage vertigo and 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.
While the symptoms of Meniere’s disease can certainly pose challenges, the good news is that there are strategies for minimizing them so that patients suffering from this condition can live near-normal lives.