Not all hearing loss and inner ear issues are consistent or predictable. Bouts of vertigo that come and go spontaneously, accompanied by mild to moderate hearing loss and/or tinnitus may be signs of Meniere’s disease, a chronic condition that can interrupt your normal lifestyle. Fortunately, diagnosis and treatment for Meniere’s are available through appointments with the clinical audiologists at New York Hearing Doctors.

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that affects the function of the inner ear, responsible not only for aspects of hearing but also balance. Although it can occur in both ears, Meniere’s disease often only affects one ear. It typically appears in adults between the ages of 40–50 and comes as attacks of symptoms that last less than 24 hours and can span years between episodes.

What Causes Meniere’s Disease?

Originally identified in 1861, the cause of Meniere’s disease is disputed among researchers. The prevailing theory is that for any number of reasons, an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear disrupts the systems of balance and hearing, causing the symptoms experienced during an attack of the disease. Possible factors that affect the amount of this fluid are genetics, viral infection, immune response, or a blockage that prevents fluid from draining properly.

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What are the Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease?

Symptoms experienced during an episode of Meniere’s disease are:

Attacks of these symptoms, in combination or by themselves, can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. Sometimes, these attacks can come on suddenly, in some cases causing “drop falls,” or sudden shifts in balance sensation that cause patients to rapidly shift their weight and fall. Other times, attacks are more gradual, resulting in prolonged feelings of unsteadiness.

Meniere’s DiseaseFAQs

Is drinking water good for Menieres disease?

Water can actually be helpful in flushing out infections that cause Menieres disease. Make sure to drink water consistently throughout the day.

What are lifestyle modifications for Meniere's disease?

Certain lifestyle modifications may be helpful or necessary when it comes to remaining comfortable throughout your Meniere's disease diagnosis. These can include:nu2022tStaying away from caffeinated drinks.nu2022tAvoiding alcohol consumption.nu2022tEating a nutritious, low-salt diet.nu2022tNot smoking.nu2022tGetting regular and good sleep.nu2022tEngaging in regular, gentle exercise.nu2022tUsing a hearing aid.nu2022tUsing an in-ear masking device.

Is Meniere's disease a disability?

Yes, the Social Security Administration lists chronic vestibular conditions as eligible for social security disability insurance under certain circumstances.

What triggers a Meniere's disease attack?

There are many “triggers” for symptoms associated with Meniere's disease, including fatigue or stress, certain foods or characteristics of a diet, and sudden pressure changes.

Is Meniere's disease serious?

While the condition isn't fatal, Meniere's disease can lead to a significant decrease in quality of life, with attacks coming on without warning frequently or infrequently.

What are the three stages of Menieres disease?

There are usually different phases of Menieres disease, which include progressions like an aura, an early stage, and an attack stage.

How do you sleep with Menieres disease?

Sleeping on your back can be helpful in managing vertigo symptoms at night. Make sure to consult your Doctor of Audiology to determine the best course of action.

Can I lead a normal life with Meniere's disease?

A Meniere's disease diagnosis does not mean that your ability to lead a normal life suddenly stops. There are many resources available to patients diagnosed with Meniere's disease in order to help ease symptoms of this disease.

Does Meniere's disease go away on its own?

No. Meniere's disease has no cure, but certain lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatment options are available to lessen or eliminate the symptoms.

Does Menieres affect your eyes?

Its common to have uncontrolled eye movements during bouts of vertigo. It can also impair your vision, making it very important to seek treatment for vertigo symptoms.

What exercises can I do with Menieres disease?

Some patients find relief from Menieres disease by doing regular aerobic exercises like running, biking, or rowing. For patients who cant perform high-impact exercises, consider low-impact ones like walking or yoga.

Do you go completely deaf with Meniere's disease?

Depending on the stage of your Meniere's disease, you may experience permanent hearing loss. With Meniere's disease, you may become more sensitive to loud sounds or have trouble distinguishing low pitches.

What should a person with Meniere's disease avoid?

The three most common things that are known to aggravate Meniere's disease are salt, caffeine, and alcohol. For this reason, it is recommended that those with Meniere's disease avoid them.

How long does Meniere's disease last?

Meniere's disease is a chronic condition that doesn't have a cure. It can last for years, or even be a lifelong condition.

How debilitating is Meniere's disease?

In advanced cases, Meniere's disease can lead to falls, trouble driving, and permanent hearing loss. These symptoms can be frustrating at first, but certain lifestyle adjustments can make them much more comfortable to manage.

How is Meniere’s Disease Diagnosed?

In combination with the right set of symptoms reported, we will diagnose Meniere’s disease through a series of tests, usually including a hearing test and a balance test.

How is Meniere’s Disease Treated?

Because Meniere’s disease occurs spontaneously and unpredictably, treatments are most focused on mitigating the attacks themselves. However, for frequent, severe, and/or debilitating episodes, we may prescribe medications to reduce nausea and dizziness, or to regulate the amount of fluid in the inner ear.

What Lifestyle Changes May Help the Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease?

Some research suggests that changes to diet or lifestyle can help reduce the severity of attacks of Meniere’s disease. Reducing salt and caffeine intake can lower the severity of attacks or prevent them from happening as often. In addition, quitting smoking and practicing good stress management may help reduce the severity of attacks, as Meniere’s is often correlated to elevated anxiety and stress levels.

Schedule a Hearing Assessment

Meniere’s disease can be more than just a nuisance; it can be debilitating. If these symptoms apply to your experience, a clear diagnosis and personalized treatment plan can go a long way toward getting you back on your feet. Schedule an appointment with the expert audiologists at New York Hearing Doctors today and start getting the care and treatment for Meniere’s disease you need.