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What Is the Treatment for Hearing Loss Caused by Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere's Disease Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common health concern for millions of Americans. It can affect anyone and can be caused by various factors such as birth defect, aging, trauma, exposure to loud noise, medication, and hearing loss can be caused by Meniere's disease.

Meniere's disease is a rare hearing disorder that affects the inner ear. Approximately 0.2% of people in the US have this medical condition that mostly affects persons in the 40's to 60's. Hearing loss caused by Meniere's disease usually starts in one ear and may later affect both ears.

Unfortunately, the cause of Meniere's is unknown but the condition has been linked to excessive fluid in the inner ear. Let's take a closer look at this condition as well as the ways hearing loss caused by Meniere's disease can be treated.

What Symptoms Are Associated with Meniere's Disease?

Unlike other causes of hearing loss, the symptoms of Meniere's can be difficult to spot and differentiate from other conditions that lead to hearing impairment. When symptoms do show they may include the following:

  • Episodes of sudden and extreme dizziness (vertigo)
  • Nausea or vomiting due to dizziness
  • Blurred vision
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    Uncontrolled eye movements
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    Spinning sensation
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    Loss of balance
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    A sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear
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    Ringing" in the ears (Tinnitus)
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    Muffled sounds
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    Sensitivity to sound

The Connection Between Meniere’s Disease and Hearing Loss

Meniere's can lead to permanent hearing loss if it remains untreated. The ear consists of the inner, outer, and middle ear (eardrum) which aid hearing by transmitting vibrations to the brain. The brain interprets the vibrations and allows you to determine the type of sound.

Hearing loss or impairment is a reduced ability or total inability to hear sounds. It could be temporary or permanent depending on the cause and severity of the damage and the part of the ear affected.

Meniere's disease causes symptoms that affect the inner ear resulting in hearing difficulty. While there is currently no cure for hearing loss caused by Meniere's disease, early diagnosis can help you manage the symptoms and prevent permanent loss of hearing.

Diagnosing Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease produces a group of symptoms that are similar to other medical conditions. Even an experienced doctor may find it challenging to determine if they are caused by the disease. Therefore, various tests may be required to make an accurate diagnosis.

Your doctor will perform an audiological or hearing test for hearing loss. If you've experienced vertigo episodes lasting between 20 minutes to 12 hours, this can point to the condition. In addition, difficulty hearing low-frequency sounds or a mixture of low and high pitches may indicate hearing loss or complications caused by Meniere's disease.

Other tests done are an Electrocochleography (ECoG) to measure the level of fluids in the ear or a Videonystagmography (VNG) to assess your balance. Blood tests and imaging scans such an MRI or CT scan may be done to rule out other medical conditions.

Treating Meniere's Disease

Since many types of hearing loss are irreversible, Meniere's disease treatment focuses mainly on reducing the symptoms of vertigo. Treatment includes medication, surgeries, therapies, and home care.

Meniere's Disease Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the fluid levels in the ear and treat nausea or vomiting. An anti-nausea medication called promethazine is commonly prescribed. If necessary, medications such as Gentamicin or steroids may be injected into the middle ear to help improve symptoms of vertigo.

Meniere's Disease Surgeries

Severe vertigo can be debilitating or place you at risk of falling. Surgery may be necessary in such cases to prevent injuries. For example, endolymphatic sac surgery helps to drain fluid from the ear and manage fluid buildup.

Treatment for Hearing Loss Caused by Meniere's Disease

If hearing loss is already permanent, your doctor may opt to remove the part of the ear responsible for balance using a procedure called labyrinthectomy. Vertigo symptoms may also be corrected with vestibular nerve section procedure, which involves cutting a nerve that helps regulate balance. This procedure may be necessary to help prevent total hearing loss.

Hearing Aids for Hearing Loss Caused by Meniere's Disease

Another treatment for hearing loss caused by Meniere's disease are hearing aids. Fortunately, today's hearing aids are much different than the hearing aids of yore. Today's digital hearing aids are smaller and offer the ability to do more than ever. At North Shore Hearing P.C., we offer a full range of hearing aids and will work closely with you to help you find the most suitable devices for your lifestyle. In addition to improving your hearing, hearing aids may also help reduce the ringing sensation in your ear.  

At-Home Treatment for Hearing Loss Caused by Meniere's Disease

In addition to the previously mentioned treatments, there are several things you can do to help your condition. Vertigo episodes can be unpredictable, so it is important to know what triggers the symptoms and be prepared to avoid falling and prevent injuries.

For example, you can use a walking cane for balancing and stability. Always stop activities and sit or lie down during an attack of dizziness. Limiting alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and salt intake also helps reduce fluid retention in the middle ear.

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C.

The hearing specialist at North Shore Hearing in Shoreham, NY can perform a complete audiological evaluation to diagnose hearing problems and hearing loss. Then, we can create an individualized treatment plan based on your unique needs.

Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation.

Diane Faulknor, MA, CCC/A

After 18 years of experience in the field of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, I felt it was time to start my own practice which has led to the creation of North Shore Hearing, P.C. I take pride in the care I provide for my patients as hearing is not just a medical issues we need to deal with, but also the social and lifestyle ramifications that people with poor hearing live with on a day-to-day basis. Based on not only your hearing loss, but also the type of lifestyle you lead, we'll work together to fit you with the most appropriate hearing aid available in today's marketplace.