Our sense of balance is something we take for granted until we experience dizziness or a fall.  Our equilibrium depends upon synchronous interaction between our inner ear, vision, and somatosensory perception. This communication allows our cerebellum to maintain our center of gravity. If one of those signals isn’t working properly, our balance is impacted, often as a result of vertigo.

Vertigo causes symptoms like dizziness, imbalance, and falling. For many people, vertigo is acute and resolves on its own. But for some, it’s chronic, and coupled with symptoms like hearing loss. If you’re experiencing hearing loss with vertigo, you’re probably concerned about the symptoms, and also about the cause. The audiologists at Clarity Hearing are experts in hearing, as well as balance. We’ll get to the root of your symptoms and provide answers. One possible cause is Ménière’s Disease. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Ménière’s Disease?

Of the 90 million people in the US with vertigo, 615, 000 of them have Ménière’s Disease. It’s not a primary cause of vertigo, but it’s one that often requires medical care to improve. Ménière’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. The attacks can be sudden and infrequent, or severe and repetitive, and cause falls. Most common in 40-60-year-olds, it can start at any age.

What Causes Ménière’s Disease?

Ménière’s Disease is caused by a buildup of endolymph fluid in a part of the inner ear called the labyrinth. Since the labyrinth contains organs that facilitate both hearing (otolithic) and balance (cochlear), a buildup of fluid in the labyrinth interferes with both. There are several theories on what causes the disease, including genetics, prior infections, allergies, and blood vessel disorders. A definitive cause and cure have not been found yet, but substantial research is underway.

How is Ménière’s Disease Diagnosed?

There is no single symptom that confirms the disease, so it’s important to visit Clarity Hearing for diagnosis. We take a comprehensive medical history, looking for symptoms like multiple episodes of vertigo lasting at least 20 minutes, tinnitus, fullness in your ear, or temporary hearing loss. We perform a hearing test and additional simple, non-invasive tests to determine the extent of hearing loss and the cause of your vertigo.

How is Ménière’s Disease Treated?

While a cure is still being sought, there are gentle and safe solutions for people with Ménière’s Disease, many of whom experience total symptom resolution. For a small percentage of patients, surgery is necessary to relieve symptoms. Here are some things we might recommend for relief.

  • Dietary Changes
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle Modifications
  • Therapy
  • Antibiotics or Corticosteroid Injections
  • Pressure Pulse Treatments
  • Surgery

At Clarity Hearing, we’re passionate about restoring your equilibrium, safety, and hearing. It’s important to consult us before trying home remedies or alternative treatments that may interact with medications or worsen your condition. Call our office to see how we can help or schedule a tele audiology appointment. Take comfort in knowing that whatever is causing your dizziness or hearing loss, Clarity Hearing has solutions.

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Dr. Dominique Lizette Olivarez

Dr. Dominique Lizette Olivarez

Dr. Olivarez received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders at Texas State University in 2012 and Doctor of Audiology at Lamar University in 2016. She is a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology, American Academy of Audiology, and the American Institute of Balance Certification.