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There are various health conditions that can have a negative impact on a person's hearing. One such condition is known as Meniere's disease. When a person has this condition, they usually have trouble with both their hearing and their balance. Meniere's disease is a condition of the inner ear that can make maintaining a normal daily routine very difficult. These are the symptoms, causes and treatments of this sometimes life-altering condition.
One of the most common symptoms of Meniere's disease is extreme dizziness. A person suffering from this disease may feel as if the room is constantly spinning and they have no way of stopping this sensation. The dizziness may be so severe that the person also suffers from severe nausea and even vomiting.
Meniere's disease normally includes unexpected attacks that can strike at any time day or night. The attacks can also cause a constant ringing or a loss of hearing in one ear. If frequent attacks continue, the person may suffer from permanent hearing loss in the ear that is affected.
It is believed that Meniere's attacks are triggered when too much fluid is produced by the inner ear. This fluid, known as endolymph, naturally develops in one of the chambers of the cochlea.
When too much endolymph is produced, this puts excessive pressure on the cochlea. This damages both the hearing and balance cells located inside the cochlea. Meniere's disease has also been found to be hereditary and may affect more than one person from the same family.
Meniere's disease is often treated in a variety of ways. Certain medications can be prescribed to reduce the amount of fluid produced by the inner ear. Many doctors also prescribe a special exercise plan that will help improve the person's balance.
Some people who suffer from Meniere's disease have found relief by changing the way they sleep at night. The attacks are more frequent if they sleep in a partially upright, reclined position instead of sleeping flat on the bed. Stacking two to three pillows under the head at night often helps prevent fluid from draining into the cochlea.
Some people have also had surgery to put an end to Meniere's disease attacks. However, this is often a last resort because this type of surgery may be risking permanent hearing loss. If the patient has already suffered some permanent hearing loss due to Meniere's disease, the hearing can be improved by wearing a hearing aid.
For help diagnosing or treating Meniere's disease, contact an audiology center like Central Bucks Hearing Center.