Meniere’s Disease

A condition of unknown cause, Meniere’s Disease involves attacks of vertigo plus tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and eventually hearing loss.ย  Each episode lasts from 20 minutes to a day, and recurs either in clusters or simply whenever.ย  There are various treatments, usually for the acute attack.ย  But if audiometry (hearing test) is worsening, some sort of surgery may be indicated.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms alone.ย  Since hearing loss may not occur at first, a definite conclusion may be in doubt.ย  But that doesn’t matter, since surgery wouldn’t be indicated at that time anyway.ย  We need to refer suspected Meniere’s Disease to ENT specialists, to test hearing.

The main diagnostic issue is to rule out other conditions.ย  With BPPV, the most common cause of vertigo, episodes only last seconds, but can keep occurring with head movement.ย  Patients with Stroke have a single attack, and we’d never even think of Meniere’s Disease the very first time.ย  Multiple Sclerosis can look just like Meniere’s Disease, as can Migrainous Vertigo (which usually has headache & other symptoms).

Paatinets with Meniereโ€™s Disease may have vastly different experiences.  Some have rare attacks, separated by years.  Others have them so frequently that the condition dominates their lives, causing mood changes, anxiety, and depression.  Various forms of treatment can be attempted, some may help some people well, but there is no uniformly successful therapy.

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