Ménière’s disease, also called endolymphatic hydrops, is a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo (a feeling of falling or the floor rushing up to meet you). The vertigo occurs because too much fluid builds up in your inner ear. The flood puts pressure on your ear, breaking down the sensitive hair cells of your inner ear.
Ménière’s disease often begins with one symptom, and gradually progresses. Unfortunately, feelings of vertigo can last for hours at time and be incapacitating. It can affect your balance and increase your risk for falls. You may also feel pressure in your ear, experience tinnitus (ear ringing), and even have changes in hearing. However, you don’t have to have all these symptoms for a diagnosis.
Ear, nose, and throat experts at University of Miami Health System offer comprehensive care for Meniere’s disease. Our physicians strive to help you control symptoms in order to improve your quality of life.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, such as when they occur and for how long.
Your ENT specialist will likely recommend a hearing test (audiometry), in which a variety of tones and sounds are played into each of your ears, one at a time, to check for hearing loss.
Tests that check the function of the inner ear allow your ENT specialist to determine the extent of your trouble keeping your balance.
Motion Sickness Medication
This can help reduce the spinning sensation and help lessen nausea or vomiting.
This can help reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting during an episode of vertigo.
Diuretics help reduce the amount of fluid in your body, which could ease pressure on your inner ear.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be able to help improve your balance.
If you have experienced hearing loss, a hearing aid can improve your ability to hear.
For cases of vertigo that are difficult to treat, your ENT specialist may recommend a Meniett device, an at-home treatment. This treatment involves applying pressure to the middle ear to improve fluid exchange. A device called a Meniett pulse generator applies pulses of pressure to your ear canal through a ventilation tube.
Transtympanic Injections of Steroids and Gentamicin
These techniques are used to deliver medicines directly to the inner ear without exposing the entire body to the same medications. This is done in an office setting by making a small incision in the eardrum and injecting the medicine into the middle ear, where it then is absorbed into the inner ear across thin dividing membranes. Steroids are generally used to decrease inflammation, while the gentamicin is used to reduce or eliminate the signals emanating from the balance organs of the inner ear (similar to labyrinthectomy described above) while attempting to preserve hearing.
Endolymphatic Sac Procedure
During this procedure, a surgeon decompresses the fluid-filled sac in your inner ear. They may also place a shunt to help fluid drain away from your inner ear.
Vestibular Nerve Section
This surgical procedure involves cutting the balance nerve. This is done when other attempts to control recurrent vertigo attacks have failed. This procedure prevents the abnormal balance signals – caused by Meniere’s disease – from reaching the brain and causing symptoms.
This surgical procedure involves removing the balance organs of the inner ear in an attempt to cease all abnormal balance signals from reaching the brain and causing symptoms. As this procedure destroys hearing as well, it is only performed when there is no useful hearing in the ear.
Why Choose UHealth?
The Department of Otolaryngology ranks No. 9 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the department’s dedication to excellence in research, patient care and outcomes. The experts in the UHealth Ear Institute provide comprehensive and innovative care of ear, hearing, and balance disorders. This includes the Children’s Hearing Program and the hereditary deafness clinical and research group, where more than 15 percent of the known genetic hearing loss mutations have been discovered.
World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.
Home to the Ear Institute at the University of Miami. The Ear Institute is a global center for all hearing loss conditions, evaluations, and treatments, thanks to the patients who put their trust in us for their continued health care. It is also a primary location for continuing medical education and research by the National Institutes of Health.
Vestibular balance program. At the Ear Institute, we have state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose, treat, and assess your vestibular/balance system structures and their function. Our vestibular balance program has had great success in helping people with balance problems live a healthy, more carefree life.
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