Condition: Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a fairly uncommon disease of the inner ear. It is diagnosed with the four classic symptoms :Variably disabling attacks of dizziness (vertigo), Hearing loss in the affected ear, Tinnitus, A full blocked feeling in the ear. Find out more here.

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What is Meniere’s Disease?

Ménière's disease is a relatively uncommon inner ear disorder that affects your hearing and sense of balance. It’s not curable but treatment is needed to stop progression and to avoid permanent hearing loss and ongoing balance issues.

While the condition isn’t life-threatening, it does affect your quality of life, so it’s important to seek effective treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Ménière's disease?

Symptoms of Ménière's disease come on suddenly and without warning. They can last anywhere between a few minutes and 24 hours and will come and go time and again.

Symptoms of Ménière's disease include:

  • Vertigo

  • Loss of balance

  • Tinnitus in one or both ears – this may become constant with time

  • Hearing loss – your hearing may deteriorate over time

  • A blocked, full feeling in your ear

  • Pressure, discomfort or pain deep inside your ear

  • Headaches

  • Nausea or vomiting

What causes Ménière's disease?

The exact cause of Ménière's disease is unknown but symptoms are thought to be caused by excess fluid in the inner ear called endolymph. It’s not clear what causes this fluid to build up in the inner ear.

Some people have a family history of Ménière’s disease, which indicates that the condition could also be hereditary.

Having an autoimmune condition or having had a viral infection such as meningitis can also increase your risk of having Ménière's disease.

How is Ménière's disease diagnosed?

Our ENT consultants can make a diagnosis of Ménière's disease by examining your ears and assessing your symptoms.

Ménière's disease is diagnosed if the four classic symptoms are present:

Tests such as hearing and balance tests may be required to rule out other potential conditions and confirm you have Ménière’s disease.

What are the treatment options for Ménière's disease?

Our ENT consultants at OneWelbeck are experts in their field and are able to offer a full range of treatments to help patients.

Around 80% of patients respond to medical treatment with a combination of various drugs.

For those that do not respond to conservative treatment the next step is to use corticosteroid injections. These are administered through the eardrum under local anaesthetic to calm down the active inner ear. This is usually given as a course of three injections.

If steroid treatment fails, surgery can be considered. This can either be hearing-preserving surgery, when the hearing is still useful such as endolymphatic sac decompression. Or vestibular neurectomy, or hearing-destructive surgery can be done if the disease has caused severe hearing loss (labyrinthectomy).

All of these options are discussed in terms of their benefits and associated risks so as to individualise the management of the condition.

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Jul 2024


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Meniere’s Disease Specialists

All our private ENT specialists at OneWelbeck in London are leaders in their sub-specialties, providing the highest quality treatment to ensure you receive the best available care.