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10 Common Symptoms of Ménière's Disease


Ménière's Disease is an inner ear condition. It typically starts in one ear, but may move to the other ear, as well. To avoid making symptoms worse, avoid smoking or a high-salt diet. Frequent infections also intensify this disease.

Ménière's Disease is rare, with less than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Symptoms may appear one minute and resolve the next minute or after a few hours. Medications are prescribed or recommended to control symptoms of the condition.

Symptom 1: Hearing Loss

Do you experience fluctuating and progressive hearing loss in the affected ear?

According to Earcentergreensboro.com, “Hearing loss is generally most pronounced in the lower frequencies and is accompanied by a distinct sensation of pressure, fullness or a stopped-up feeling in the ear. Initially, hearing levels may fluctuate and then return almost to normal. However, as the disease becomes more advanced, hearing levels may remain permanently and severely impaired. Hearing loss may affect one or both ears. Typically, one ear will lose hearing and then the other ear will begin to lose hearing months or years later. Again, the hearing loss may be due to patchy areas of ischemic tissue within the inner ear secondary to a lack of adequate blood flow.”

Symptom 2: Loss of Balance

Are you unable to keep your balance? Do you lack coordination? Especially at night?

If you have severe vertigo due to Ménière's Disease, then you may fall or trip because you cannot keep your balance.

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Symptom 3: Headache

Do you constantly get headaches? With Ménière's Disease, headaches are triggered by how your body reacts to internal or external conditions.

According to Migravewnt.com, “With migraines, your head often feels like a battle zone. If you suffer migraines and Ménière's disease, it can feel like WWIII. Blinding headaches, throbbing ears, constant ear ringing, sharp pain in the eyes, dizziness, and vomiting are enough to make you want to raise the white flag.”

Symptom 4: Tinnitus

Do you suffer from tinnitus or ringing in your ears?

According to Menieres-disease.ca, “Persistent tinnitus (ringing in the ears) sometimes accompanies hearing loss, but most of the time, it has its own cause(s). In Ménière's Disease (balance and hearing symptoms) it is very persistent and very unpleasant. And because it is in the person’s ear, they cannot remove themselves from it: it always travels with them. We have heard many, many people with Ménière's disease describe tinnitus as sounding like the sound of escaping air, running water, being inside a seashell, a sizzling, musical, buzzing, or humming noise, ringing noises, blowing sounds, hissing, whistling, high or low-pitched sounds, roaring, pulsating sounds, etc. some people can hear their heart beat.”

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Symptom 5: Nausea/Vomiting

Are you nauseated? Feel like you need to vomit?

According to Menieres-disease.ca, “Nausea is the feeling that you might have to vomit, to bring up stomach contents. There may even be feelings of nausea before a Ménière's disease attack. This is a most unpleasant feeling and many people just wouldn't be able to work effectively. The question constantly would be ‘will I get there in time?’ Nausea can be a side effect of the dizziness that comes from the inner ear imbalance. There certainly are anti-emetic medications, but the side effects would probably cause the Ménière's disease sufferer to be sleepy and non-productive. This dizziness can last for a short time or an extended period. Whichever time it lasts, it is very debilitating.”

Symptom 6: Vertigo/Dizziness

Are you dizzy? Have a spinning sensation?

According to Whirledfoundation.org, “Ménière's disease often progresses through different stages. In the early stages, most people have sudden and unpredictable attacks of vertigo, accompanied by nausea, vomiting and dizziness. The attacks of vertigo continue, but may come and go and become less severe.”

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Symptom 7: Ear Pressure

Do you feel pressure or pain in one or both ears?

According to Vestibular.org, “Experts aren't sure what generates the symptoms of an acute attack of Ménière's disease. The leading theory is that they result from increased pressure of an abnormally large amount of endolymph in the inner ear and/or from the presence of potassium in an area of the inner ear where it doesn't belong.”

Symptom 8: Ear Fullness

Does your ear feel full? Plugged up? Congested? Do loud noises sound distorted?

According to Californiaearinstitute.com, “If severe enough levels of fluid pressure are reached, delicate membranes of the inner ear may rupture producing the abrupt onset of vertigo.”

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Symptom 9: Motion Sickness

Because Ménière's Disease causes frequent attacks of vertigo, you may be reluctant to travel due to the possibility of motion sickness. 

According to Menieres.org.uk, “If you are affected by motion sickness, you may wish to keep some of your medication and sealable plastic bags to hand. The flicker of strong sunlight through shaded trees, or the ripple of fencing or posts flashing past can trigger dizziness. Some motoring organisations under their recovery scheme will recover you and your car if you are on your own and taken ill away from home. Check with your motoring organisation if they offer this service.”

Symptom 10: Eye Movement

Do you make rapid, involuntary eye movements? Ménière's Disease not only affects your ears, but it can also cause problems with your eyes.

According to Hearinghealthfoundation.org, “Some people who have the disease experience a sort of jerky eye movement in one or both eyes, side to side, up and down, or in a circular motion.”

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