Ménière's disorder is a long-term, usually progressive condition that affects both the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear.
If you think you may have symptoms of Ménière's, one of warning signs of an upcoming 'attack' is increased tinnitus, 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 normal 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.
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.
Here at Amplifon our team of expert Audiologists can help assess the extent of your hearing loss, but if you also experience vertigo and/or tinnitus, you should consult your GP. If your doctor suspects that you may have Ménière's disorder, it will either be treated with medication or you will be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT), who will be able to carry out relevant tests and scans before prescribing the relevant treatment and next steps.
The Ménière's Society also provides support and authoritative information about the disease, much of it written by medical professionals and clinical researchers. The society can also put you in touch with other people who have been diagnosed with the condition, which may be a comfort to you or your friends and family.