A disorder of the ear- Meniere’s disease

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Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for balance, as well as hearing. This disorder causes vertigo (a sensation of spinning), hearing problems, and a ringing sound in the ear. Meniere’s disease usually affects only one ear.

Meniere’s disease is a chronic (long-term) disease, but treatments and lifestyle changes can help to ease the symptoms. Many people diagnosed with Meniere’s disease will go into remission within a few years after their diagnosis.

Causes
The specific cause remains unknown, but scientists believe it may be caused by changes in the fluid in tubes of the inner ear.

Symptoms

Vertigo
Hearing Loss
Tinnitus
Aural fullness
Loss of balance
Headaches
Nausea
Vomiting
Sweating occasioned by severe vertigo.

 

Diagnosis

Hearing test is used to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss.

Audiometry: in this test, you will put on headphones. You will hear noises with a variety of pitches and volumes. You will need to indicate when you can and cannot hear a tone, so the technician can determine if you are experiencing hearing loss. The test will also tell the difference between similar sounds. In this portion of the test, you will hear words through the headphones. You will need to repeat what you hear. The results of this test will tell your doctor if you have a hearing problem in one or both ears.

Electrocochleography (ECog) is a test done to measure the electrical activity in the inner ear. An auditory brainstem response (ABR) test checks the function of the hearing nerves and the hearing center in the brain. These tests can tell your doctor if the problem is caused by your inner ear or with your ear nerve.

Balance Tests

Balance tests are done to test the function of your inner ear. People who have Meniere’s disease will have a reduced balance response in one of their ears.
The balance test most commonly used to test for Meniere’s disease is electronystagmography (ENG). In this test, you will have electrodes placed around your eyes to detect eye movement. This is because the balance response in the inner ear causes eye movements.

During this test, both hot and cold water will be pushed into the ear. The water causes the balance function to work. Your involuntary eye movements will be tracked. Any abnormalities can indicate a problem with the inner ear.

Rotary chair (also called rotational chair or rotatory chair) testing is less commonly used. It will show your doctor whether your problem is caused by a problem in your ear or your brain. It’s used in addition to ENG testing because the ENG results can be incorrect if there is wax blocking one of your ear’s canals or if your ear is damaged. In this test, the chair is moved while your eye movements are carefully recorded.

Vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) testing measures the sound sensitivity of the vestibule of the inner ear.

Posturography testing to determine which part of the balance system that is not functioning properly.

 

Treatment

Meniere’s disease is a severe health condition with no known cure. However, there are treatment options that can help with the symptoms, ranging from medication to surgery for the most severe cases.

Medication- antiemetic (anti-nausea medication), diuretic drugs
Vestibular rehabilitation exercises can improve symptoms of vertigo. These exercises help to train your brain to account for the difference in balance between your two ears.
Hearing aid
Surgery: an endolymphatic sac procedure is done to help decrease the production of fluid and promote fluid drainage in the inner ear.
A vestibular nerve section procedure cuts the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which reduces vertigo while preserving hearing.
A labyrithecotomy is done when there is total hearing loss in the ear. This surgery removes the entire inner ear, which removes the balance and hearing function from that ear

Self-Care and Home Treatment
Diet may help to reduce the amount of fluid in the inner ear and ease symptoms. Items to limit or exclude from your diet include:

Salt
Caffeine
Chocolate
Alcohol
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Drink six to eight glasses of water per day, so your body is not retaining fluid.
Resting during vertigo attacks
Eating regularly (to help regulate fluids in your body)
Managing anxiety and stress through psychotherapy or med
Quit smoking



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