Hearing Loss & Vertigo. All About Meniere’s Disease

Hearing Loss & Vertigo All About Meniere's Disease(1)
Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Do you struggle with vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus? Do you experience pain, swelling, or pressure in the ear? You could have Meniere’s disease. This disease is a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear. Here’s everything you need to know about hearing loss and vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease. 

What is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder. It affects the fluid in the inner ear, leading to vertigo, balance issues, and hearing loss. It’s more common among adults in their 40s and 50s, and it usually impacts one ear more than the other. 

What Causes Meniere’s Disease?

No one knows exactly what causes Meniere’s disease. However, it’s most likely caused by increased pressure in the ear due to abnormal fluid in the inner ear. Meniere’s disease can be caused by:

  • An ear infection
  • A respiratory infection
  • A viral infection or illness
  • Allergies
  • A head or ear injury
  • High levels of stress 
  • Smoking 
  • A family history of Meniere’s disease

What Are the Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease? 

There are four main symptoms of Meniere’s disease. These are:

  1. A feeling of pain or pressure in one ear
  2. Hearing tinnitus in one ear
  3. Muffled hearing or hearing loss in one ear
  4. Experiencing dizziness or vertigo

An episode usually begins with pressure in the ear, then you might experience muffled sounds or tinnitus. Finally, you may experience vertigo. A Meniere’s disease episode usually lasts at least 20 minutes and can continue for up to four hours. Many people will experience several episodes in a period of a few days or weeks. After that, they may not experience any symptoms for several months or more. 

Diagnosing Meniere’s Disease

Diagnosing Meniere’s disease can sometimes be a long process. That’s because the symptoms of Meniere’s disease, including hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus, can all point to other health concerns. Your doctor must rule out other possible causes of these symptoms before diagnosing Meniere’s disease. Other illnesses that cause these symptoms can be treated effectively, so doctors want to ensure you’re getting the best possible treatment for any illness you’re experiencing. 

Treating Meniere’s Disease

There is no cure for Meniere’s disease. However, there are things you can do to manage the symptoms or decrease episodes of hearing loss and vertigo.

  • Diet – What you eat impacts your overall health and wellbeing. Decreasing sodium in your diet, and drinking less caffeine, may help reduce the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
  • Quit smoking – Quitting smoking can reduce the number of episodes you may have.
  • Reduce stress – Finding ways to reduce stress levels can decrease the number and intensity of Meniere’s episodes.

If you think you may have Meniere’s disease, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They may refer you to an ENT, or a hearing health specialist. 

Hearing Loss and Meniere’s Disease

One of the main symptoms of Meniere’s disease is hearing loss in one ear. Usually, this hearing loss is low-frequency hearing loss. This means you’ll have some difficulty hearing low-pitched sounds. Sometimes, this hearing loss can make you more sensitive to higher-pitched sounds and they may be uncomfortable to hear. 

Often, the hearing loss that accompanies Meniere’s disease is temporary at first. It will come and go with the episodes of the disease. However, over time you may develop more permanent hearing loss, which could be in one or both ears.

Treating Hearing Loss

If you have Meniere’s disease and have permanent hearing loss in one or both ears, visit us! Hearing aids are the best treatment option if you’ve been experiencing hearing loss.

For anyone with single-sided hearing loss, we have CROS hearing aids to help you hear better than ever. These hearing aids are specifically designed for people with a “good ear” and a “bad ear.” The CROS system has two hearing aids that you wear in both ears. When the hearing aid in your bad ear picks up any sounds, it sends these sounds to the hearing aid in your good ear. So your good ear can compensate for hearing loss in your bad ear and help you hear all the sounds around you. We have a selection of hearing aids for single-sided hearing loss, so visit us today to explore your options.

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