Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: meniere | disease | ear

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 09:42 AM


Question: My sister was just diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. Can you explain this condition?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:

Meniere's disease is an inherited disorder of the inner ear. Symptoms occur in episodes of hearing loss often associated with dizziness, usually lasting at least 20 minutes, but may last for hours or days. Severe attacks of vertigo may cause falls, and are known as “drop attacks.” Initially in one ear, it often will later affect the other ear.

It is characterized by a buildup of fluid contained in a section of the inner ear called the labyrinth. This buildup affects balance and hearing signals sent from the inner ear to the brain. We have no cure for this, but we do have medications to help relieve the symptoms once the attack has started.

It is important to be evaluated by an ear-nose-and-throat specialist to be sure no other condition is present producing Meniere's-like symptoms. An MRI as well as a detailed hearing evaluation using air and bone conduction are usually performed, in addition to a detailed history and physical evaluation, to diagnose this condition.

No preventive strategies exist for this condition. Inner ear microsurgery with specialized shunt procedures can be performed for those with advanced or disabling symptoms. In some cases, truly amazing results have been seen.



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