Meniere's Disease

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What is Meniere's Disease?


This is not intended to replace your doctors point of view. This is solely for information only. I have tried to keep the information as accurate and up to date as much as possible. If you have any medical questions refer those to your Ear Specialist. I am not a doctor. I am a person who suffers from Menieres disease. My goal is to gather information and seek out others with the same problem. I am trying to learn and deal with this debilitating problem and would like to get response from others who suffer from this disease.

Menieres is classified as a inner ear disorder that causes repeated attacks of dizziness and the discomfort of fullness from the affected ear. This is due to increase pressure of the inner ear fluids.

Fluids in the inner ear chambers are constantly being produced and absorbed by the circulatory system. If there are any disturbance in the delicate relationship, this results is over production or under absorption of the fluids. This leads to increase fluid pressure (which may be felt) that usually produces dizziness which can be associated with fluctuating hearing loss and ringing in the ear. It is rare for someone to be affected in both ears at the same time.

Evaluation by a Otolaryngolist (Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist) or by a Otology @ Neurotolist (Inner Ear Specialist) is needed to determine the cause of the increase fluid pressure. Circulatory, metabolic, toxic, allergic or emotional factors may play a part in an case.

What are the symptoms?

Menieres disease is characterized by severe attacks of dizziness that can vary from a few minutes to several hours or even days. Hearing loss and head noise (ringing in the ear) usually accompany the attacks. The dizziness attacks can occur suddenly without any warning. Violent spinning, whirling and falling sensations with nausea are the most common symptoms. For some, a sensation of pressure (fullness) in the ear is usually present. Sometimes if the pressure is severe, it can effect normal activities such as lack of concentration and short term memory loss. These attacks may occur at irregular intervals. The individual can be free of symptoms for many years at a time.

Occasionally hearing impairment, ringing noise and ear pressure occur without dizziness. This type of Menieres disease is called cochlear hydrops. Dizziness and ear pressure may occur without hearing loss and ringing, this is called Vestibular Hydrops. Treatment for both of these is the same as Menieres.

What type of treatment is available?

Menieres disease can be treated medically or surgically.


Treatment varies. This depends on several factors according to the cause, magnitude and frequency of the symptoms. In order to improve the inner ear circulation and control the fluid pressure, treatment may consist of medication to stimulate the inner ear circulation. Such are vasodilating drugs (blood pressure pills) Diuretics (water pills) with anti-dizziness medication. People with Menieres should void caffeine and nicotine for this has an opposite effect on drug treatment. Another form of treatment is special diets such as reducing salt and or potassium. (would like more information about this)


Surgery is only recommend where medical treatment fails to relieve the attacks of dizziness and pressure. Surgery is successful in relieving acute attacks in the majority of patients.

Endolymphatic Shunt : This operation drains excess fluids from the inner ear. This operation is advised when hearing is relatively good. An incision is made behind the ear, through the mastoid (bone section behind the ear) and a tube is inserted to control the abnormal fluid pressure.

In severe cases where the shunt in unsuccessful, it is sometimes necessary to remove the inner ear membranes. When this is done, there is total loss of hearing in the operated ear.

It is found that once a person has been diagnose with Menieres, permanent hearing loss is the result once the disease in in the final stages. Fluid pressure eventually damages the inner ear chambers, resulting in hearing loss. Hearing loss varies from person to person. As well, time plays no factor in this degenerative disease. As much as 50 to 95 percent hearing loss has been reported.

There are many causes of dizziness and pressure. If you feel that some of the symptoms matches yours, please see your specialist.

If anyone wishes to add or comment on this, please feel free to respond to this address below. The more information I receive, the more it benefit everyone.

(Was contributed by Timothy Notting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at 17 Dec 1993.)

Contact information for persons with Meniere's Disease

There is a national network of persons with Meniere's disease. They publish a newsletter called "Steady". Contact them (the Meniere's Network) through the EAR Foundation at 2000 Church Street, Box 111, Nashville, TN, 37239. The phone number is 615-329-7807. In addition to "Steady" and a means of contacting other persons for education and support, the Meniere's Network offers referrals for medical hearing specialists and is active in a number of public education efforts regarding the disorder.

(Contributed by Robert Pollard, Ph.D., Dept. Of Psychiatry, Univ. of Rochester Medical Center at 15 Dec 1993.)

Another syndrome which can be confused with Meniere's disease

Have you been checked out by a neurologist for possible acoustic neuromas? Hearing loss, fullness, & vertigo are also symptoms of those.

(Contributed by Annette Lemons at 14 Dec 1993.)

Relationship between exposure to noise and Meniere's disease

There was research which demonstrated link between exposure to noise and Meniere's disease. The following are links to papers which resulted from the research:

Last update date: 
2006 Jan 20