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Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s Disease

  • Have you been experiencing sudden ‘attacks’ of dizziness and loss of balance, with nausea and sometimes vomiting?
  • Did you know that vestibular rehabilitation is one of several treatment modalities used to manage Meniere’s, alongside medications, surgery and diet?
  • Did you know that it’s easier to diagnose Meniere’s closer to the time of the episode or attack? For this reason, it’s very important to seek specialist treatment early on, when you first have symptoms of vertigo or hearing loss.
  • Did you know that in the early stages of the condition, diagnosis is made based on an audiogram or hearing test that shows a specific pattern of hearing loss?

What is Meniere's Disease?

Meniere’s is a condition that affects the labyrinth, an inner ear organ. To diagnose this rare progressive condition, a person must experience tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo. It can be difficult to diagnose, partly because there are many other conditions that present with the same symptoms. A thorough vestibular physiotherapy assessment can be one of the key pieces of the puzzle leading to a confirmed diagnosis of Meniere’s. Assessment can also help to identify any other vestibular conditions that can, and often do, occur at the same time as Meniere’s. Your vestibular physiotherapist will guide and support you through the process of who to consult, to make the process of achieving an accurate diagnosis as straightforward as possible.

While it can be a relief to receive a diagnosis, many people are anxious about what Meniere’s means for them – especially if they don’t know a lot about the condition and how to manage it. Frequent episodes of dizziness, and ongoing symptoms such as chronic ringing and fullness in the ear, can be frightening, frustrating and exhausting. The symptoms sometimes lead people to avoid doing the things that are important to them in life, for fear of the onset of symptoms, or because of them. Fortunately, a better understanding of the condition and treatment options can help you to better manage the anxiety and the condition. Your vestibular physiotherapist will guide you through the process, and give you the best possible advice and treatment for each of your symptoms.

Common Symptoms

  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear
  • Sudden, regular dizzy spells, usually lasting between 20 minutes and 12 hours
  • Ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
  • Muffled hearing or hearing loss, usually in one ear only
  • Symptoms vary from person to person – some will experience many attacks over a period of several days, and others will have an isolated attack every once in a while.
  • In some cases, ‘double hearing’ (Diplacusis)

 

What are the Causes of Meniere’s?

A clear cause is unknown. Symptoms may be due to extra fluid in the inner ear, called endolymph, although it isn’t clear what causes this fluid to build up in the first place.

Issues that affect the fluid, which might lead to Meniere’s disease, include:

  • Poor fluid drainage – possibly due to a blockage or irregular ear shape
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Viral infection
  • Genetics

How can we Help?

How Meniere’s is managed is dependent on its current stage.

  • Firstly, timely and accurate diagnosis is critical. It’s very important to seek medical attention early, particularly if hearing loss is present. Your physiotherpist can help you to navigate referrals to the correct services.
  • Once medical assessment has begun, physiotherapy may assist with your balance and dizziness symptoms.
  • Vestibular Physiotherpists can provide you with education about your new diagnosis, including any lifestyle modification factors & trigger identification.
  • Assist with the management of other vestibular findings such as vertigo or BPPV.

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview: This helps us to gain a full understanding of your symptoms and medical history.
  • Physical Assessment: We assess your body, head and eye movements and vestibular reflexes, using the latest technology.  This enables us to accurately assess your symptoms and develop a customised treatment plan for you.
  • Targeted Treatments: We use specialised treatment methods, such as repositioning techniques, to manage your symptoms.
  • Progressive Exercise Program: We teach you specially designed exercises and movements to retrain your brain, as well as exercises to build strength, endurance, coordination and balance, in line with your exercise goals.  We’ll also teach you how to manage your condition at home, and how to recognise and treat some of your symptoms.
  • Communication and Collaboration with your General Practitioner and/ or ENT or other specialist, to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care. 

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium