Ménière's disease is a long-term, progressive condition that affects the parts of the inner ear that affect both balance and hearing.
This condition affects roughly 1 in 1,500 people. Ménière's disease is not a common condition, but it can develop at any age and affects both genders equally. It can also be linked to family history, with around 7-10% of sufferers sharing the disease with a close relative.
Although the cause of Ménière's disease is currently unknown, it is thought to be linked to a problem with inner-ear pressure, particularly involving the fluid that is inside, known as the endolymph. The disease can be divided into early, middle and late stages, tracking a path that over time that normally sees a decrease in attack frequency, but a steady increase in hearing loss and often tinnitus as well. However, the progression of the condition varies from case-to-case and you may not pass through all three phases.
At National Hearing Care, our team of expert audiologists and audiometrists can help assess the extent of your hearing loss, but if you also experience vertigo and/or tinnitus, you should consult your GP. If your doctor suspects that you may have Ménière's disease, it will either be treated with medication or you will be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT), who will be able to carry out relevant tests and scans before prescribing the relevant treatment and next steps.
The Ménière's Society also provides support and authoritative information about the disease, much of it written by medical professionals and clinical researchers. The society can also put you in touch with other people who have been diagnosed with the condition, which may be a comfort to you or your friends and family.
Find out more about Ménière's disease treatment, hearing loss and other disorders.