Menieres Disease is also known as Endolymphatic Hydrops and is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect both hearing and, in some cases, balance. Typically, the patient will suffer spells of vertigo, hearing loss and low pitched tinnitus. The rotational vertigo may be intense and last from minutes to hours. Generally it will last less than 24 hours. In rare cases it may continue for up to several weeks. Nausea, vomiting and sweating may also be present as a reaction to the vertigo. Hearing will recover, however, following repeated attacks permanent hearing loss in the lower frequencies may occur.
The inner ear is made up of the cochlea and semicircular canals within which are a delicate system of narrow fluid filled channels called the labyrinth. The cochlea is concerned with hearing and transmits information to the brain via the Cochlear Nerve. The semicircular canals sense head movements and help to control balance. They transmit this
information to the brain via the Vestibular Nerve.
Menieres Disease is thought to be caused by a an intermittent build up of fluid within the labyrinth leading to an increased pressure and swelling of the structure.This may also lead to leaking of fluid between different parts of the labyrinth.
The increase in pressure will result in abnormal signals being sent to the brain leading to dulled hearing, dizziness and vomiting.
Whilst it remains unclear as to why the fluid increase should occur, it is believed that it may be due to more fluid being made than can be drained away.
Vestibular Physiotherapy will help you with any balance disorders caused by Menieres Disease.