Meniere’s disease is a condition that causes recurring episodes of vertigo (feeling of movement or spinning), hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing, humming, whistling or buzzing sounds) and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. While symptoms may be intermittent, they can also be debilitating.
After cancelling his tour in 2018, singer Huey Lewis of “Huey Lewis & the News” opened up about his own experience with Meniere’s disease in a candid interview with Whitefish Review: “In the first two months of this [after being diagnosed], I was suicidal … I actually contemplated my demise,” he said. “I can’t hear music. It’s hard enough to hear speech. But music is impossible … I can actually get better sometimes, where I think ‘Oh my gosh, I can almost sing.’ And I have sung twice in the last two years, when my hearing was better. And I sang one song acoustically. But I couldn’t do it for a set.”
Part of the problem with Meniere’s disease is that it tends to get worse over time. According to Erin Bean, an audiologist at New York University, “Hearing loss can vary, and typically it will happen in recurrent episodes, with, over time, the hearing getting worse and worse. In the beginning, it can fluctuate and get much worse and return to normal, but typically, over time, the return to normal is much less, and people are left with longer periods of sensory-neural hearing loss.”
While there is no cure for Meniere’s disease, there are options for managing symptoms that can be used alone or in conjunction with one another.
Medications may be prescribed to manage vertigo, such as anti-nausea or motion sickness medication. A doctor may also prescribe a diuretic to help reduce fluid retention in the inner ear and prevent episodes.
A hearing aid can treat any hearing loss associated with a Meniere’s episode. Hearing aids provide the most benefit when used on an ongoing basis.
Certain medications can be injected into the middle ear to manage vertigo, including Gentamicin, an antibiotic, or steroids. There are also a variety of surgeries available to help relieve vertigo in more extreme cases.
One of the most effective lifestyle changes you can incorporate to help prevent Meniere’s episodes is a low-sodium diet. Excessive sodium is a common trigger for Meniere’s disease, as it causes the inner ear to retain water. According to the American Heart Association, an ideal low-sodium diet consists of no more than 1500 mg per day. Talk to your doctor before incorporating any major dietary changes to determine what’s best for you.
Contact Your Hearing Provider
To further discuss your options for managing Meniere’s disease, contact your provider at CENTA Medical Group today!