No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But the effects are difficult to dismiss. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to stem from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that buildup initially.
So here’s the question: if something doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be treated? The answer is, well, complicated.
Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a chronic condition that affects the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. For many people, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse as time passes. Those symptoms may include:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will strike and how long they will last can’t be predicted.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to experience ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.
Fullness in the ear: This manifests as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically known as aural fullness.
Hearing loss: Over time, Meniere’s disease can cause a loss of hearing.
It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can come and go for many people. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more persistent.
Treatment for Menier’s disease
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition which has no known cure. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.
The following are a few of those treatments:
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will typically only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of certain steroids.
- Medications: In some instances, your doctor will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can be helpful when those specific symptoms occur. So, when a bout of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician might prescribe is a diuretic. The concept is that reducing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This is a long-term medication that you’d take instead of one to decrease acute symptoms.
- Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly hard to treat, this non-invasive approach can be used. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. In order to minimize fluid accumulation, the inner ear is exposed to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term advantages of this method have not been backed up by peer-reviewed studies.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy techniques that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re constantly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
- Hearing aid: It might be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is progressing to the point where your ability to hear is faltering. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily slow the progress of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can improve your mental health. There are also a number of ways hearing aids can help manage tinnitus.
Find the correct treatment for you
If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get evaluated. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes reduce the progression of your condition. More frequently, however, they minimize the effect that Meniere’s will have on your daily life.