About This Condition
Ménière’s disease (MD) is a disorder of the inner ear causing episodes of dizziness (vertigo); ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or hissing sounds in the ears (tinnitus); fluctuating levels of hearing loss; and a sensation of fullness in the ear.
Head trauma and syphilis can cause MD, although in most cases the cause is unknown.
People with Ménière’s disease may have vertigo that may be associated with nausea and vomiting. Symptoms may also include a recurrent feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear and hearing difficulty. People with Ménière’s disease may also have tinnitus, which may be intermittent or continuous. The symptoms of MD are associated with an underlying condition referred to as endolymphatic hydrops, an excess accumulation of the fluid of the inner ear.1 When people have only one of the symptoms associated with Ménière’s disease, such as tinnitus or vertigo, the condition is not usually considered MD.
People frequently affected by disabling vertigo might require a surgical treatment (vestibular neurectomy or labyrinthectomy). Some people might benefit from a tinnitus masker, which is a hearing device that produces a sound that is more tolerable than the ringing in the ears. Healthcare providers may also suggest the use of earplugs in the presence of loud noises to prevent damage to the ear.