What Is Meniere's Disease?


Quick Answer

Ménière's disease is an inner ear condition marked by vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and a fullness sensation in the ear, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. This disease is also called idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops, and it is one of the leading causes of inner-ear dizziness. The specific cause of Ménière's disease is unknown, but the condition most likely arises from fluid imbalances in the ear.

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What Is Meniere's Disease?
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Full Answer

The AAO-HNS explains vertigo is marked by a spinning sensation. Tinnitus is a loud buzzing, roaring or ringing sound in the ear. Hearing loss is usually intermittent, but it mainly occurs during episodes of vertigo. Loud sounds may become distorted and cause discomfort in the affected ear. Symptoms of Ménière's disease may last between 20 minutes to four hours. People with Ménière's disease may exhibit fatigue and stress, which influence the frequency of a patient's episodes. Someone undergoing an attack should lie flat, stay still and focus on an unmoving object. Many times these patients fall asleep and awake feeling better after the attack passes.

Ménière's disease normally affects people between the ages of 20 and 50. In 15 percent of cases, both ears are affected, according to the AAO-HNS. A specialist performs a series of tests to measure hearing sensitivity, balance, fluid levels and brain activity to diagnose Ménière's disease. As of October 2014, there is no cure for this malady. Treatment may include a low-salt diet, anti-vertigo medicine, an air pressure pulse generator, injections and surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

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