Meniere's Disease: What is it?

Causes and symptoms of Meniere's disease

Ménière's disorder is a long-term, usually progressive condition that affects both the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. The main symptoms are vertigo (dizziness and loss of balance), tinnitus and hearing loss.

If you think you may have symptoms of Ménière's, one of warning signs of an upcoming 'attack' is increased tinnitus loudness ', incidents of vertigo and often vomiting. These attacks can typically last for two to three hours at a time, it can sometimes take a few days for the symptoms to disappear before you start to feel more human again.

This condition affects roughly one in 1,500 people, Ménière's is not a common condition, but it can develop at any age and affects both genders equally. It can also be linked to family history, with around 7-10% of sufferers sharing the disease with a close relative.

What are Meniere's disease causes?

Although the cause of Ménière's disorder is currently unknown, it is thought to be linked to a problem with inner-ear pressure, particularly involving the fluid that is inside, known as the endolymph. The disease can be divided into early, middle and late stages, tracking a path that over time, normally sees a decrease in attack frequency, but a steady increase in hearing loss and often in tinnitus as well. However, the progression of the condition varies from case to case and you may not pass through all three phases.

What are Meniere's disease symptoms?

Signs of Meniere's Disease are the same in patients of all ages:

  • Vertigo and loss of balance: their frequency may vary from person to person
  • Tinnitus: This is a buzzing or whistling sound perceived by the person but does not come from an outside source.
  • A hearing loss: it is first manifested by a sensation of clogged ears but over time deafness evolves and can become irreversible.

Following the confirmation of the presence of these symptoms, the ENT doctor may perform several additional tests, such as an audiometry test to confirm the diagnosis.

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