What are the causes of Meniere's disease?
As an uncommon condition that varies in severity from patient to patient, it is still currently unknown what really causes Ménière's disease. However, what medical researchers have ascertained is that it is caused by the fluid pressure in the inner ear not being regulated as it should.
The inner ear is made up of two parts: the cochlea, a coiled tube that is responsible for hearing, and the vestibular system, a complex set of tubes that controls your body's balance. Inside the inner ear, there is also a fluid known as endolymph, which helps transport sound waves and balance control signals to the receptor cells that stimulate your brain.
When the pressure of the endolymph changes, it results in symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. As symptoms that are strongly aligned with Ménière's disease, it is thought that endolymph pressure levels are responsible for the whole condition.
Although the causes cannot be pinpointed exactly, is it thought that the following factors could also offer an increased risk or trigger for the development of Ménière's disease.
- Improper fluid drainage due to an abnormality in the anatomy of the inner ear, or an unwanted blockage
- A chemical imbalance in the endolymph relating to diet, as a result of too little or too much sodium or potassium
- Abnormal immune response - when your own body sees harmless tissues and organs as a threat, and attacks them by mistake. Autoimmunity can sometimes be the result of another condition such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Viral infections - such as meningitis or labyrinthitis, which affect the brain and inner ear respectively
- Head trauma
- Genetic predisposition
Although the causes are currently unknown for certain, making regular appointments for check-ups with your GP can significantly aid early diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that you might be suffering from Ménière's disease, you may want to seek the support of the Ménière's Society, which provides a wealth of information attributed to leading medical professionals, as well as some self-help tips that might ease your concerns over your condition.
For more information about the disease, visit our symptoms and treatment pages, or gain an overview of the condition here.
What is Meniere's disease?
Ménière's disease is a long-term, usually progressive condition that affects both the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. Find out more about Meniere's disease hereRead more
What are the symptoms of Meniere's disease?
Like other illnesses, the symptoms of Ménière's disease vary greatly over time and from person to person. Find out more about the symptoms of Meniere's disease here.Read more
What treatments are available for Meniere's disease?
Learn more about the available treatments, support and advice for Meniere's disease or you can speak to one of our experts at you rlocal Amplifon store.Read more