by Rick Alan
Meniere disease is a disorder of the labyrinth in the inner ear that causes vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing problems. The labyrinth is a system of cavities and canals in the inner ear that affects hearing, balance, and eye movement.
The Inner Ear
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The cause of Meniere disease is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of factors. Possible causes include:
Meniere disease is more common in adults aged 30-60 years, and in Caucasians. Other factors that may increase your chance of Meniere disease include:
Meniere disease may cause fluctuating symptoms, which may come on suddenly. They typically involve only one ear, but may involve both. Symptoms include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This will include an examination of your ears and a neurologic exam to evaluate for possible nerve damage.
Tests may include:
There is no cure for Meniere disease. Treatment focuses on managing your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include one or more of the following:
Dietary changes include:
Lifestyle changes include:
Your doctor may suggest specific vestibular exercises. These exercises use a series of eye, head, and body movements to get the body used to moving without dizziness. You may work with a physical therapist to learn these.
Consider working with a therapist or joining a support group. These can help you to cope with your symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend:
Ask your doctor if a Meniett device would be helpful to you. This device provides low-pressure pulses to the middle ear.
Surgical procedures are not always helpful, but include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent Meniere disease. However, to help reduce your risk, avoid:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Meniere disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113932/Meniere-disease . Updated December 5, 2016. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Meniere's disease. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/menieres-disease. Updated March 2014. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Meniere's disease. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/menieres-disease. Updated February 13, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2017.
12/3/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113932/Meniere-disease : Hillier S, McDonnell M. Vestibular rehabilitation for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(10):CD005397.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 9/30/2013