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The Basics: Ménière's Disease

Ménière's disease, an abnormality of the inner ear, is a common cause of hearing loss. Symptoms include:

  • vertigo or dizziness,
  • tinnitus,
  • fluctuating hearing loss, and
  • ear pressure or pain.

What's causing it?

The symptoms of Ménière's disease are associated with a change in the fluid volume of your inner ear. Extra fluid in your inner ear can cause swelling. Experts believe that this swelling can rupture membranes in your inner ear, causing one fluid in your inner ear to mix with another fluid. The mixing of fluids may cause the symptoms of Ménière's disease.

Other possible causes of the disease include what are called 'environmental factors,' such as noise pollution and viral infections, and biological factors.

What will the doctor do?

To diagnose Ménière's disease, doctors use several procedures:

  • a medical history interview and physical examination,
  • hearing and balance tests, and
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a sophisticated technique that takes detailed pictures of the inside of the body.


There is no known cure for Ménière's disease, but your doctor can suggest methods to control its symptoms, such as a change in diet or medicine. For patients with persistent, debilitating vertigo, doctors have successfully used surgery and an antibiotic to treat Ménière's disease.

Your own voice may sound too loud. Your audiologist may or may not be able to correct this problem. Most people get used to it over time.

Read more about Ménière's disease >>


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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Celebrating 20 years of research: 1988 to 2008