Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in your ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. It usually affects just one ear. It is a common cause of hearing loss.
Attacks of dizziness may come on suddenly or after a short period of tinnitus or muffled hearing. Some people have single attacks of dizziness once in a while. Others may have many attacks close together over several days. Some people with Meniere's disease have "drop attacks" during which the dizziness is so bad they lose their balance and fall.
Scientists don't yet know the cause. They think that it has to do with the fluid levels or the mixing of fluids in the canals of your inner ear. Doctors diagnose it based on a physical exam and your symptoms. A hearing test can check to see how it has affected your hearing.
There is no cure. Treatments include medicines to control dizziness, limiting salt in your diet, and taking water pills. A device that fits into the outer ear and delivers air pulses to the middle ear can help. Severe cases may require surgery.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Meniere's Disease (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Meniere's Disease (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- Meniere's Disease (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Ménière's Disease (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
- Genetics Home Reference: Ménière disease (National Library of Medicine)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Directory of Organizations (Deafness and Communication Disorders) (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
- Find an ENT (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders