Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder that affects the inner ear and causes episodes of feeling like the world is spinning, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and fullness in one or both ears. It typically afflicts only one ear at first but over time may affect both. Meniere's disease is a debilitating and unpredictable inner-ear condition that can cause vertigo, a specific type of dizziness in which you feel as though you're spinning.

When there are no clear causes for your symptoms or treatments to help them, it's hard to know what will happen next. With the right treatment plan and support from those who understand Meniere's disease, you can live well with this condition. Ontario Hearing Center is committed to help you deal with Meniere's disease and other hearing concerns.

Overview of Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease can cause ringing in your ear, hearing loss that comes and goes, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases the issue is only present in one ear. However, as time progresses it can become permanent which means you will have to get used to living with tinnitus for the rest of your life.

History of Meniere's Disease

A French doctor, Prosper Meniere, is credited with discovering the cause of an illness we know today as Meniere's disease. He suggested in the 1860s that symptoms come from the inner ear and not the brain. This belief was revolutionary at a time when most people thought symptoms came from what was going on in their heads. The discovery has helped countless people who were living with debilitating fear for years to finally find relief.

Causes of Meniere's Disease

The cause of Meniere's disease is still not known, but doctors think they have figured out how the symptoms come about. When body fluid builds up inside a part of your inner ear called the labyrinth, which holds structures that help with balance and hearing. This fluid then interferes with the signals received by your brain, causing hearing problems and dizziness.

There is no clear answer to what causes Meniere's disease, but there are several theories. One theory states that the inner ear fluid might be blocked or has an abnormal structure which could cause it to build up and lead to a loss of balance. Others say that the body's defense system attacks healthy cells in the inner ear fluid making it more viscous. Allergies can also affect hearing due to inflammation or swelling of the membranes in your ears, causing them to become inflamed and irritated so they cannot produce sound as well as before. There is even evidence pointing towards a viral infection affecting your ability to hear correctly due to changes within your immune system after being sick with something like a cold virus.

Diagnosing Meniere's Disease

You and your doctor will discuss the symptoms you're experiencing. A series of diagnostic tests will check your balance, hearing, and any other bodily functions that may be greatly affected.

Audiometric Exam

Hearing loss can be a major problem for people who work in noisy environments. If you don't take steps to protect your hearing, it could lead to tinnitus or other serious health problems.

The only way to know if you have hearing loss is by taking an audiometric exam. That means wearing headphones and listening to sounds at different volumes while a machine records how well your ears respond. It takes only about 15 minutes and the results are quick—usually within 24 hours of when the test was taken.

Electronystagmogram

If you're feeling dizzy, lightheaded or off balance it can be a sign of something serious. The Electronystagmogram (ENG) test takes about 20 minutes in your doctor's office and can detect problems with your vestibular system while being much more affordable than an EEG test.

Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP)

Vestibular disorders are a common cause of dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. The VEMP test is a relatively new technique that has shown promising results in the diagnosis of vestibular disorders.

Posturography

Balance problems can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. It's important to find out why you're having balance issues and what the cause is so that you get treatment if needed. If your balance problems aren't going away on their own, it's time to see a doctor for help. You might have something called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is one of the most common causes of dizziness in adults over 40 years old. The good news is that there are treatments available for this type of vertigo, including exercises and physical therapy designed just for people with BPPV .

Auditory Brainstem Response Test (ABR)

Most people don't know that hearing loss is not just about how well you can hear the person right in front of you. It also affects your ability to understand speech when there are other sounds around, like the TV or a radio. 

The ABR test uses sound and headphones to measure how your brain responds to different tones. This helps us see if any part of your hearing system isn't working properly, even though it may not be causing problems with how well you hear someone talking directly to you.

 If we find that some parts of your hearing system aren't working properly, we may recommend more testing using an imaging test (like CT or MRI). These tests let us look at where things are going wrong in more detail and help us figure out what kind of treatment might work best for you.

Imaging Tests

Meniere's disease can be difficult to diagnose because it has many of the same symptoms as other inner ear disorders.

An MRI or CT scan is a painless test that uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create detailed images of your head, neck, and brain. It generally lasts about 30 minutes and you lie on a table inside a tunnel-like machine while the imaging equipment moves around your body. You might have an IV in one arm so fluids can be given if needed during the procedure.

Meniere's Disease Treatments

If you have Meniere's disease, your doctor can prescribe medications to manage it. Take note that there is no exact cure for Meniere's disease. The pharmaceutical drugs for Meniere's disease are just made to alleviate or manage the symptoms. While some people find relief from home remedies or alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, it would be best to get checked by a hearing doctor first to rule out any serious underlying symptoms. There are also surgical procedures to relieve symptoms and prevent further attacks. Ongoing research for the treatment of Meniere's may open new treatment options in the future.

Oral Medications

Vertigo can be extremely debilitating, making it hard to do simple tasks like get out of bed or walk around your home. This condition may feel like you're spinning, moving up and down, or tilting from side to side. You might also experience nausea during an episode. 

You may be given pharmaceutical drugs like diuretics and steroids to help manage the symptoms and help you live a normal life.

As one of the leading providers for meniere's disease treatment options in Rochester, NY, we offer comprehensive care for this disorder through medical management.

Injections

The treatment involves injecting medicine into the ear to stop the affected nerve from sending signals to your brain about motion sickness and dizziness.

Vestibular neuritis suppression might be an effective alternative to surgery if you suffer from severe vertigo caused by Meniere's disease or other inner ear disorders like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Meniere's Disease, a condition that causes life-changing symptoms such as hearing loss and tinnitus, may progress to become constant if left untreated. Hearing loss that comes along with Meniere's disease may become worse if left untreated, so we highly recommend that you seek medical assistance right away. 

If you suspect yourself of having the disease, call your doctor rather than assume it will get better on its own. 

If you're in Rochester, NY and think that you might need to be checked or treated for Meniere's disease, you may visit us at Ontario Hearing Center. We have a clinic in Brighton and in Gates.

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