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Quick Facts

Meniere Disease

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
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What is Meniere disease?

Meniere disease is a problem with your inner ear that causes episodes of severe dizziness, hearing loss, and ringing in one of your ears.

  • Symptoms come on suddenly, and you may feel sick to your stomach and throw up

  • An attack of dizziness usually lasts 1 to 6 hours but sometimes lasts up to 24 hours

  • Meniere disease affects only one ear

  • Meniere disease usually happens in people ages 20 to 50

  • Attacks usually come and go

  • Eventually you may lose some or all of your hearing in the ear that's affected

What causes Meniere disease?

Sometimes Meniere disease runs in families. Some doctors think it might be caused by poor circulation or problems with your immune system.

What are the symptoms of Meniere disease?

The most common symptoms are:

  • Severe dizziness that comes on suddenly for no clear reason and lasts several hours

  • Feeling sick to your stomach and throwing up

  • Ringing in just one ear (tinnitus)

  • Decreased hearing in the same ear

The dizziness doesn't get worse or better when you move around.

You may also have:

  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear, sometimes before the dizziness

How can doctors tell if I have Meniere disease?

Doctors suspect Meniere disease based on your symptoms.

There's no test to say for sure that you have Meniere disease. But doctors sometimes do an MRI to be sure something else isn't causing your symptoms. You'll usually have a hearing test.

How do doctors treat Meniere disease?

Doctors usually give you medicine to treat the dizziness, nausea, and throwing up. They advise you not to take part in any activities that increase the risk of falling.

To cut down on the number of attacks, doctors may suggest these changes to your diet:

  • Low in salt

  • No alcohol

  • No caffeine

Doctors may also:

  • Give you a diuretic (medicine that makes you urinate [pee] more)

  • Sometimes, give you corticosteroids as a pill or a shot

Doctors can’t stop your hearing from getting worse with time. You may need a hearing aid.

If you have severe dizziness and medicine doesn't help, doctors may:

  • Do surgery to get rid of some of the fluid in your inner ear

  • Inject a drug through your ear drum

  • As a last resort, cut the nerves in your ear that control balance

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