What Are Some Diseases of the Inner Ear?


Quick Answer

Meniere’s disease is a chronic inner ear condition that causes episodic vertigo and a feeling of pressure in the ear, according to Mayo Clinic. The condition often triggers ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, and periodic hearing loss that may become permanent.

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What Are Some Diseases of the Inner Ear?
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Full Answer

The cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, but doctors believe the condition is linked to an imbalance in the volume or composition of inner ear fluid, states Mayo Clinic. In addition to the spinning motions caused by vertigo, severe episodes may trigger bouts of nausea and vomiting. Instances of vertigo typically last between 20 minutes and two hours, but they can persist for 24 hours.

Autoimmune inner ear disease, or AIED, develops when the immune system’s cells or antibodies attack the ear, causing progressive hearing loss, explains the American Hearing Research Foundation. Tinnitus and dizziness are common symptoms, and patients typically have abnormal antibody results on blood tests. AIED often accompanies another autoimmune condition, such as Cogan’s disease, Sjoegren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Otosclerosis is a middle ear disease that also affects the otic capsule, which is the bone surrounding the inner ear, notes the American Hearing Research Foundation. Otosclerosis causes fusion of middle ear bones, known as ossicles, reducing their flexibility and interfering with sound transmission. The condition is usually genetic, and it triggers hearing loss that manifests more severely if it affects the inner ear.

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