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Ménière disease is a balance disorder. It’s caused by an abnormality in part the inner ear called the labyrinth. Fluid build-up here can cause a severe spinning sensation (vertigo) and affect the hearing.
The labyrinth holds the organs of balance and hearing. It’s made up of 2 parts:
The membranous labyrinth is encased in bone and contains a fluid called endolymph.
When the head moves, the endolymph also moves. This causes nerve receptors in the membranous labyrinth to signal the brain about the body's motion.
Excess endolymph buildup in the labyrinth can interfere with the normal balance and hearing signals between the inner ear and the brain. This is Ménière disease.
Fluid buildup in this area may be caused by:
Most often, Ménière disease is caused by more than one factor.
Anyone can get Ménière disease. It’s more common in people in their 40s and 50s. There is no cure.
These are the most common symptoms of Ménière disease. Symptoms can happen suddenly, and may happen daily or infrequently. The symptoms are most often in one ear but can affect both ears.
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Ménière disease may look like other conditions or health problems. Always check with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, the healthcare provider may request:
You may see specialists including:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Treatment may include:
There is no cure.
Vertigo is one of the main symptoms of Ménière disease. It can cause falls, trouble driving, or prevent other normal activities of daily living. Permanent hearing loss may also happen. These problems can cause depression and anxiety. It may be hard to work or interact with your family and friends.
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