Primarily affecting one ear, Meniere’s disease is a condition of the inner ear that can cause pain, pressure, dizziness or vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ear. Symptoms may fluctuate over time. While there is no cure, audiologists provide several treatment options that can relieve symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life. Here’s a closer look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment options of Meniere’s disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
Named for a French scientist, Meniere’s disease causes symptoms similar to those of an infection or congestion. They may include pain or pressure in the inner ear, dizziness or vertigo, difficulty hearing, and tinnitus. Meniere’s disease and its symptoms can appear at all ages, but people in their 40s and 50s are more likely to develop symptoms. Typically, Meniere’s disease progresses through three stages over time, with each progressive stage presenting more intense and persistent symptoms. While the disease is chronic and has no known cure, symptoms can be managed through a variety of lifestyle changes and treatment strategies.
Meniere’s disease isn’t necessarily caused by one exact thing; it is likely the result of increased inner ear pressure due to fluid buildup. Allergies, infections, stress and anxiety, immune system issues, and head injuries may all cause Meniere’s disease. Certain lifestyle factors can also put individuals at greater risk, including smoking, consuming alcohol, and taking certain prescription medications.
Relief and Treatment Options
When a patient’s Meniere’s disease is primarily caused by lifestyle factors, making a few changes can often help to alleviate symptoms. These include quitting smoking, reducing sodium intake, practicing stress management techniques, and consuming less caffeine and other stimulants. In other cases, audiologists may refer the patient to an otologist (a physician who specializes in conditions of the ear) for possible medical treatment, which may help combat inner ear inflammation and reduce the dizziness and vertigo associated with Meniere’s disease.
The many symptoms of Meniere’s disease can dramatically impact an individual’s quality of life, but there are lifestyle changes and treatment options that can help to reduce discomfort. At Associated Hearing Professionals, our team assists patients throughout the St. Louis area to manage and improve their symptoms. Schedule an appointment today by contacting us at 314-725-2686 in St. Louis or 636-244-6148 in Chesterfield.