3 Treatment Options for Meniere’s Disease

3 Treatment Options for Meniere’s Disease

Pamela Bandelaria |May 11, 2022

Treatment for Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s disease is very rare; it affects only 0.2% of the population in the U.S. While there is no cure, there are different treatment methods that help manage the condition and lessen symptoms. This article will explain what the disease is, what the symptoms are and possible treatments for Meniere’s disease.

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease involves the accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, specifically the cochlea and the vestibular organ. The inner ear is responsible for balance and hearing, which is why the symptoms of Meniere’s disease are related to these abilities. However, there are many reasons for hearing loss, so it is not a direct indication of this disease.

Most people with Meniere’s disease are older. It usually affects people between the ages of 40 to 60. The occurrence of Meniere’s disease is roughly equal among genders, with some studies showing that females have a slightly higher chance of developing it.

Treatment for Meniere’s Disease

Currently, there is no known cure for Meniere’s disease. Treatment for Meniere’s disease will offer relief but is dependent on the symptoms of each individual person. Talk to your doctor about what option would be best for you. The following are some treatments for Meniere’s disease.

1. Lifestyle Changes and Remedies

Changing your lifestyle can have an impact on your overall health, as well as help improve specific symptoms. These changes can include changing your diet by decreasing salt intake and avoiding caffeinated drinks, alcohol and cigarettes.

2. Medication

Various medications can be used depending on which symptoms need to be addressed. Diuretics can be given to help reduce fluid in the inner ear. For patients who experience dizziness and tinnitus, medications such as betahistine can be given if diuretics do not solve the problem. Some medications can also be given as injections in the inner ear. These are usually reserved for severe cases and include the injection of steroids.

3. Medical Procedures

Hearing aids can be given to patients who are experiencing hearing loss. Other medical procedures include pressure pulse treatment or the Meniett device. This delivers pulses of pressure via an earpiece. The Meniett device is portable and noninvasive, which is why it is an option for people with Meniere’s disease.

For extreme cases or cases that do not respond to conservative management, surgery is offered by doing either endolymphatic sac surgery, vestibular nerve section or labyrinthectomy.

Endolymphatic sac surgery is done to decompress the endolymphatic sac and maintain the pressure within the inner ear. A vestibular nerve section involves cutting the vestibular part of the cochleovestibular cranial nerve. Labyrinthectomy involves the removal of parts of the semicircular canals and the vestibule.

Each of these surgeries has its own risks, with labyrinthectomy leading to complete hearing loss on the affected side, so it is only considered when no other treatment options are available.

Meniere’s disease may not be bothersome if diagnosed and managed early. Episodes of vertigo and hearing loss eventually stabilize in the later years. However, hearing loss can be permanent in some patients.

Thankfully, there are many treatment options for people with this condition. It is important to be aware of this disease so that affected people can be directed to the right specialists.

Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease has a classic triad of symptoms: vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss. Some symptoms, such as hearing loss, may occur slowly over time, whereas other symptoms, like vertigo, can occur suddenly.

Vertigo or spinning sensations that people experience can be very severe and may occur randomly. They bother most people because daily tasks can be affected. The duration of vertigo can vary — some episodes occur for minutes, while others last hours. Another thing that makes these vertigo attacks difficult to deal with is that they are unpredictable, and there is no way of knowing when they will occur.

On the other hand, tinnitus is what is commonly known as ringing in the ears. Some people can also experience buzzing, whistling, or hissing sounds.

Finally, hearing loss can occur due to the fluid buildup that affects the sensory cells of hearing. In Meniere’s disease, hearing loss often affects lower frequencies, although some people may experience permanent hearing loss.

Meniere’s disease can be debilitating. Aside from the unpredictable vertigo attacks, a small percentage of people with Meniere’s disease can experience a sudden sensation of falling, also known as drop attacks. These are also unpredictable and can be dangerous, as sudden falls can cause physical injuries.

Final Notes

Meniere’s disease can sometimes be hard to diagnose. Because the symptoms are common and happen for several reasons, they tend to overlap with other diseases. Furthermore, some people may think it is normal to have episodes of dizziness and not immediately seek treatment. Others may also not notice the presence of symptoms like hearing loss due to its gradual occurrence and progression.

This can delay a consult and prompt diagnosis. It is important that if you experience these symptoms, be seen by a physician so they can refer you to a trained ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

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