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Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meniere's Disease: Important Treatments

Dizzying picture of stairs. People with Meniere's have a difficult time walking down stairs.

Meniere’s disease is a mysterious disorder of the inner ear. Symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in ears), fullness in the ears, and hearing loss. No age is immune from this condition, but it becomes more common as people grow older. Causes from Meniere's are debated to this day, and though there is no known cure for this disease, there are some truly effective and important methods for treating symptoms.

The complication in seeking relief from Meniere's symptoms occurs because the success of any one technique is not universal. In other words, treatments must be individualized for each patient. Finding the best treatment is important and might take time, but management of the condition is possible. Below is a list of the most important treatments for symptoms.

Avoidance: Avoiding salt, alcohol, nicotine, and stress either in conjunction or alone. Some people have different “triggers” that begin an episode of Meniere’s. It is wise to keep a journal and mark down events and foods consumed before attacks. In this way, a history can provide a common denominator.

Alternative Remedies: Herbs, vitamins, chiropractors, and acupuncture have been reported by some individuals to help relieve symptoms. Whenever trying alternative remedies it's important to thoroughly research treatments and practitioners.

Because of the individualized nature of Meniere’s many important treatments may need to be tested before relief is found.

Diuretics: It is thought that the build up of liquid within the inner ear contributes to this disease. Use of diuretics have been shown to help in a small number of people. Use of diuretics depletes certain nutrients in the body. Speak to your doctor about what supplements to take to regulate depleted nutrients.

Medications: Motions sickness medicines, anti-nausea medicines have been shown to help with certain aspects of this condition.

Surgery: Surgery has been effective in helping reduces symptoms of Mniere's disease. As important as this treatment is for those that struggle with this condition, it should be noted that surgeries can impact hearing, creating greater hearing loss. Surgeries include: cutting the nerve that regulates balance in ear (Vestibular nerve section), decreasing fluid production (Endolpymphatic sac procedure), removal of section or entire inner ear (Labryinthectomy).

Middle Ear Injections (Gentamicin and steroids): Getamicin is injected into the ear in low or high doses in order to impede the balance function of that ear, allowing the other ear to take over. Problems include risk of hearing loss and risk of the other ear developing Meniere’s. Likewise, steroids are injected within the ear. It has been reported to have less impact on the condition, but is also thought to have less risk for hearing.

Hearing Aids: Hearing loss and tinnitus associated with Meniere’s have both been shown to be lessened with the use of hearing instruments. Treating the hearing loss associated with Meniere's is important, because hearing loss will worsen over time and because treating it helps prevent other conditions like Alzheimer's and dementia. Speak with a certified hearing health professional to find out the options that are best suited for your particular condition.

Meniett Device: Prescribed by doctors, the Meniett treatment can be used several times a day to put micro-pressure pulses on the middle ear. A minimally invasive surgery is required to insert a small tube in the ear drum that allows the pulses to be received deep within the inner ear. Testing has shown that this device can help regulate fluid exchange thereby lessening the vertigo associated with Meniere’s.

There are surgical and non-surgical treatments for Meniere's. Generally if the disease can be managed with non-surgical treatments then surgery is not undergone. Treatments like the Meniett device have received a lot of attention recently, with improvement being recorded years after treatments. This does not mean the device works for everyone. Because of the complicated nature of this condition and the need for a series of treatments, patients need to work with their hearing health professional. to find the corrective treatment that is best suited for them.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

Meniere's disease: Treatments and drugs - MayoClinic.com

Meniere's Disease Information Center -- Treatment of Meniere's Disease

Medtronic Meniett Therapy

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