Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes you to feel as if you’re spinning uncontrollably. Along with this feeling of vertigo, is an annoying ringing sound in your ears, a fluctuating hearing loss that unfortunately almost always leads to a permanent hearing loss and sometimes even a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ear.
And while it is not uncommon to experience it in both your right and left ears, in the majority of cases, it only occurs in one ear.
Meniere’s disease often occurs in people between the ages of twenty and fifty, but it has been known to occur at any age.
The most dangerous part of Meniere’s disease is the unpredictable episodes of vertigo that can cause you to lose your balance and fall over for no good reason. Coupled with the real potential of losing your hearing forever, it’s not surprising that depression, anxiety and emotional stress are incredibly common among people suffering from the disease.
Meniere’s Disease Symptoms
The most common symptom of Meniere’s disease involves a sporadic, uncontrollable spinning sensation known as vertigo. These episodes can start and stop on a dime, occur without warning and can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. If the vertigo is bad enough, nausea and vomiting can be expected.
In addition to the vertigo, you most likely will experience a hearing loss that comes and goes, especially when you first start experiencing these symptoms. Unfortunately, almost everyone that gets Meniere’s disease gets some permanent hearing loss.
Accompanying the sporadic hearing loss, you will also experience an annoying ringing, hissing or buzzing sound in your ears known as tinnitus.
You will also experience a strange feeling of fullness in your ear, as if pressure is building within your ear. This is known as aural fullness.
It’s very common for your symptoms to improve or disappear completely after an episode has passed, only to return weeks to years later.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
Even after 200 years of research, the actual cause of Meniere’s disease remains unknown. One potential theory is that the inner ear develops an abnormal amount of fluid, known as endolymph, that causes the condition. This build up of fluid is often seen in cadavers that had Meniere’s disease.
The build up of fluid in the inner ear that causes Meniere’s disease is most likely due to one or more of the following: Allergies, viral infection, head trauma, migraines, abnormal immune response or just improper fluid drainage due to a blockage or some anatomical abnormality.
Why Does Meniere’s Disease Almost Always Result In Deafness?
Meniere’s disease almost always leads to deafness in the ear that it is afflicting. This is due to the fact that the hair cells in your inner ear (both cochlear hair cells and vestibular hair cells) are so sensitive that each and every attack causes them to slowly die off, resulting in deafness years down the road.
Another contributing factor is that the fluid build up may actually be causing physical changes in your inner ear, resulting in chronic unsteadiness, even when you’re not having an attack. These changes can put pressure on certain nerves in the inner ear that ultimately result in you losing your hearing in that ear.
Meniere’s Disease Treatment
While some people find relief of their symptoms by taking Tinnitus Control, there currently is no official cure for Meniere’s disease.
There is however a treatment of last resort that involves injecting a low dosage of gentamicin into your inner ear. This treatment deadens the inner ear so that you no longer get vertigo, but the trade off is that you accelerate hearing loss in that ear to the point of deafness.