What is Meniere's Disease?
Meniere's disease is an abnormality of the inner ear causing a host of symptoms, including vertigo or severe dizziness, fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus or a roaring sound in the ears and the sensation of pressure or pain in the affected ear.
The disorder usually affects only one ear and is a common cause of hearing loss. Named after French physician Prosper Meniere who first described the syndrome in 1861. The symptoms of Meniere's are variable; not all sufferers experience the same symptoms. So called "classic Meniere's" is considered to comprise the following four symptoms:
- Periodic episodes of rotary vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement) or dizziness.
- Fluctuating, progressive, unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears) hearing loss, often initially in lower frequency range.
- Unilateral or bilateral tinnitus (perception of noises, often ringing, roaring, or whooshing), sometimes variable.
- Sensation of fullness or pressure in one or both ears.
There is no cure for Meniere's disease. However, the symptoms of the disease are often controlled successfully by reducing the body's retention of fluids through dietary changes (such as a low-salt or salt-free diet and no caffeine or alcohol) or medication. Scientists are investigating environmental and biological factors that may cause Meniere's disease or induce an attack.
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