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Meniere's Disease Treatment

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There is no cure for Meniere’s disease, but treatments can help reduce symptoms and decrease the number of episodes.  In some people, hearing may return to normal with treatment.  A primary goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of fluid and pressure within the ear.  This may be achieved with lifestyle and dietary changes, medications, injection procedures, or surgery.  Rehabilitation can help improve balance and walking.  Assistive devices, such as a cane to help you balance or hearing aids, can improve your functional abilities.  The treatment that you receive depends on the severity and type of your symptoms.  You may need to try more than one type of treatment.

Reducing the amount of salt that you consume can decrease the amount of fluid in your ears.  A diet similar to a low-salt diet that is used for people with high blood pressure is commonly used.

It can be helpful to stop smoking.  Smoking can decrease blood flow to the nerves in the inner ear, which does not help the situation.  It can be helpful not to consume products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.  Caffeine can stimulate the nerves in the inner ear.  Regular exercise can be helpful because it increases blood flow.

Medications may be prescribed to help decrease the amount of fluid in your inner ear.  Prescription medication can be used to treat the symptoms of vertigo, nausea, or vomiting.  Surgery may be necessary if symptoms do not respond to non-surgical treatments or if symptoms are very severe.

There are a few surgical procedures that may be used to reduce symptoms of Meniere’s disease.  An endolymphatic sac decompression (ESD) is used to place a valve in the inner ear to help fluid drain.  ESD is used to decrease vertigo, but it does not improve hearing.  A labyrinthectomy is used to remove the labyrinth and nerve responsible for balance.  Rehabilitation follows the surgery to improve balance.  Like ESD, labyrinthectomy does not improve hearing. 

A vestibular neurectomy is a procedure that can cure vertigo in most cases.  It involves making an incision in the nerve responsible to “disconnect” it in the inner ear.  This procedure is the preferred surgery if a person still has good hearing.  A vestibular neurectomy does not involve the nerves used for hearing and does not decrease hearing.

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