What is Ménière’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease, also known as idiopathic endingolymphatic hemops, is one of the most common causes for dizziness that originates in the inner ear. Most cases involve one ear (unilateral), but it is possible to affect both ears (bilateral).
Meniere’s disease is most common in people aged 40-60 years old, but it can affect anyone. Other symptoms include vertigo (attacks with a spinning sensation), hearing impairment, and tinnitus (a buzzing, roaring or ringing sound in one’s ear). These episodes can last anywhere from 20 minutes to up to 8 hours.
The attacks of vertigo are the most common cause of hearing loss. Loud sounds can cause discomfort and may appear distorted. Hearing loss is usually limited to lower frequencies. However, it can also affect the higher tones over time. Although hearing loss may initially be temporary, it can become more severe as the disease progresses.
Symptoms of Ménière’s Disease
Ménière’s disease symptoms may include:
- Dizziness or vertigo (attacks of a spinning sensation)
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus (a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ear)
- A sensation of fullness in the affected ear
- Symptoms tend to come and go together
What Causes Ménière’s Disease?
Although the cause is unknown, Ménière’s disease symptoms are due to an increased volume of fluid in the inner ear. Too much fluid may accumulate either due to excess production or inadequate absorption. In some individuals, especially those with involvement of both ears, allergies or autoimmune disorders may play a role in producing Ménière’s disease. In some cases, other conditions may cause symptoms similar to those of Ménière’s disease.
People with Ménière’s disease have a “sick” inner ear and are more sensitive to factors such as fatigue and stress that may influence the frequency of attacks.