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What is Meniere's disease?

Meniere’s disease is a triad of symptoms occurring due to changes in the inner ear which results in loss of balance and hearing, as both functions are controlled by the inner ear in the human body.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The common symptoms and signs of Meniere’s are listed below:

What are its main causes?

There is no exact cause identified yet; however, a combination of several factors may lead to Meniere's disease.

Some of the causes of Meniere's disease are listed below:

  • Chemical imbalance in the fluids in the ear
  • Build-up or accumulation of ear fluid which affects the functions of balance and hearing
  • Exposure to very loud noise for a long period of time
  • May be hereditary
  • A non-regulated, high-salt diet
  • Allergies
  • Head injury
  • Viral infection

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Hearing and balance tests are performed separately to figure out if the person is suffering from this condition.

Hearing tests – Audiometry or a hearing test can be performed to determine hearing loss. It helps in figuring out if the person has a hearing difficulty in one or both ears. Additionally, an electrocochleography (ECoG) is performed to measure the electrical activity inside the inner ear. An auditory brainstem response is also conducted to check the functions of the hearing nerves and the hearing centre of the brain. These tests determine whether the issue is with the inner ear or the ear nerve.

Balance tests – The most common balance test performed for Meniere’s disease is electronystagmography (ENG).

There is no definite treatment for Meniere’s disease, but certain drugs can help in suppressing the symptoms of vertigo, nausea and tinnitus. A diuretic is a drug given in conditions like vertigo to limit and reduce excess fluid accumulation inside the body. Surgery and hearing aids might also be advised for treating Meniere’s disease where applicable, based on the severity of the condition.

Certain precautions are also advised to prevent the attacks of Meniere’s disease. These precautions are:

  • No smoking
  • Salt-restricted diet
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  1. Medicines for Meniere's Disease

References

  1. Healthdirect Australia. Meniere’s disease. Australian government: Department of Health
  2. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Ménière's disease.
  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [Internet] Bethesda, MD; Ménière's disease. National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland, United States
  4. National Institutes of Health; [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Ménière disease.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Meniere's Disease.
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