Have you felt off-balanced often? One or two brief moments of dizziness could be explained by dehydration, low blood pressure, or even too much time in bed. But prolonged dizziness, coupled with hearing loss, could be a sign of a rare but significant condition known as Ménière’s disease.
Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder that typically only affects one ear. Patients with this condition have a buildup of fluid in the ear’s labyrinth, which contains the cochlea and the otolithic organs responsible for balance. Although the true cause of Ménière’s disease is unknown, researchers have theorized that it could be due to genetics, constricted blood vessels in the ear, or viral infections.
This condition presents with many auditory and balance-based symptoms, including:
Your physician will determine whether or not you have Ménière’s disease through various tests. They will inquire about how many times you have had bouts of vertigo and their duration, your current level of hearing, and any fullness you may feel in your ear.
Kayla Newkirk-Boshers, AuD, a CEENTA audiologist from our Matthews office, describes additional testing measures. “You will receive a hearing test and possibly a balance test through VNG and/or an MRI to rule out underlying neurological conditions if your physician deems it necessary."
As of this writing, there is no cure for Ménière’s disease. That said, your symptoms can be managed with motion sickness medicine, diuretics to reduce inner ear fluid buildup, and hearing aids among other treatments. If your symptoms significantly impact your quality of life, surgical options like endolymphatic sac surgery or a vestibular nerve section could be considered.
Ménière’s disease can be a debilitating condition if left unchecked, but CEENTA is here to help. Our team of audiologists and otolaryngologists work together to evaluate your hearing and balance and lead you towards the relief you need. To schedule your consultation with Kayla Newkirk-Boshers, AuD, at our Matthews office, call 704-295-3000.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an audiologist in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule an appointment by calling 704-295-3300.
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