Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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An Interview with Michael and Karin About Getting Relief from Meniere's Disease
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Meniere's Disease
What is Meniere's Disease?
Meniere's Disease in Detail
Signs & Symptoms of Meniere's Disease
Treatment Options
Testing and Diagnosis
The Possible Causes
Hearing Loss
Ear Pain and Pressure
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
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Signs & Symptoms of Meniere's Disease - Hearing Loss

One of the worst parts of having Meniere's disease, can be the hearing loss that is associated with it. It is usually just in one ear and the loss of hearing can be very disorienting. For some people, it could be a sudden hearing loss and for others it may be a gradual loss.

Hearing: how it works

The two functions of the ear are to capture sounds and relay them to the brain and get interpretation. It is also responsible for balance.

Sound waves are received in the outer ear. They are passed through the tympanic membrane, coming out as vibrations. They then pass over the three bones (ossicles) to the cochlea, stirring up waves in the fluid.

This motion moves the hair-like sensory receptors. The message is translated into electrical impulses, which are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve. (The brain can only "read" electrical impulses.) The brain returns an "interpretation": saying that this was a sound, and it was this intense and this loud.

Hearing Loss or Impaired Hearing

The definition is "the total or partial inability to hear sound in one or both ears".

Hearing loss affects over 30 million people in North America.

With the previous explanation about how your hearing works, hearing loss, or hearing imbalance (hearing loss in one ear), now makes a lot of sense. It can be suggested that if impairment is present, then balance is not.

In order for our electrical impulses to reach the brain, both vestibular systems (one in each ear) must be functioning properly. Balance means both parts are working equally well. If they are not, then imbalance occurs. This shows up as dizziness or vertigo which are also more symptoms of Meniere's disease.

There are different types of hearing loss that you should be aware of, but may not be applicable to your present situation.  It is worth knowing about these just in case these come up in a conversation with your doctor;

  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Congenital hearing loss
  • Occupational hearing loss, which may be noise induced
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • High frequency hearing loss

Groups Of Deafness / Hearing Impairments / Hearing Loss

There are many groupings of deafness or hearing impairments, but two kinds for easy understanding are conductive and sensorineural. Sometimes both are impaired, but often it is just one. In some people both ears are involved, but for most, it remains with one ear.

Conductive impairment is about the mechanics of the transmission of the sound waves. This can happen when the ossicles can't conduct sound to the inner ear. It can also happen when the eardrum (tympanic membrane) is blocked by excess fluid or is bulging under pressure. This is often reparable once the underlying cause is dealt with.

The sensorineural deafness/hearing impairment involves the hair sensors and they may be damaged. These are usually not reparable. Here are several excellent articles on this subject.

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many causes, but for our purposes as a Meniere's disease site, tinnitus, is probably one of the major symptoms. It is described as a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the ear.

Generally, there is no specific treatment for tinnitus. It is a symptom of another underlying condition. If this cause can be identified may reduce or eliminate tinnitus.

It is interesting to note that some of the causes of tinnitus are also causes of hearing loss or hearing impairment:

  • damage to the nerve endings in the inner ear
  • stiffening of bones in the middle ear
  • exposure to loud noises
  • head or neck injury

How To Live With Hearing Loss

Because so much of our world involves sound, having a hearing impairment makes participation in many routine things a huge challenge. Add to that the distinct possibility of vertigo or drop attacks, the situation becomes quite unpredictable: one few people want to deal with.

It's no wonder that people with Meniere's disease become reclusive. Or at least shy away from outside activities. Even within their own family circle, there is often a feeling of loneliness and exclusion.

Generally people experience this loneliness only for a while.

In most cases, two things happen.

  • The hearing loss is corrected and the problem disappears.
  • Eventually they learn to look to themselves for happiness and fulfillment. They accept themselves and find they are actually grateful for the challenge. (A lot of people with Meniere's disease develop a wonderful sense of humor and have great understanding of our human frailties.)

Most will have already had a chance to participate in counseling.

Other aids could be

  • Hearing aids: there are so many different styles and mechanisms around now.
  • People also need to learn to stand in such a way so that the person with hearing loss is able to see and read their lips or watch their facial expressions.
  • A quiet, relaxed environment is crucial.
  • Background noise must be reduced to an acceptable level.
  • Stress also must be understood and dealt with.
  • The family attitude is very important. If the person experiencing hearing loss is accepted and welcome, the situation will be relaxed and life is much easier for everyone.
  • It's always wise to remember that this person didn't want to have Meniere's disease or hearing loss.

A very basic explanation of how the ear works.

Normal Hearing

The Ear (For a layman's understanding)

The normal ear has three basic parts:

  • The outer ear
  • The middle ear
  • The inner ear

The dividing point between the outer and middle ear is the tympanic membrane, a sheet-like structure.  The middle ear houses three tiny bones "ossicles" that are linked together.

The inner ear is made up of two systems: auditory and vestibular. The cochlea is a snail shaped structure and it is filled with fluid and has hair-like sensory receptors.

  • It is connected to the brain via the auditory (hearing) nerve.
  • It is responsible for hearing.

The inner ear also houses the vestibular system, which is a network of tubes and sacs. It also has hair-like sensory receptors.

  • It is connected to the brain via the vestibular nerve.
  • It is responsible for balance.


The dictionary defines "balance" as a state of equilibrium, harmonious arrangement, equal distribution.

This is what the body is trying to accomplish. It coordinates all these systems so we stay" right side up". Each system contributes its specific "expertise". If one isn't working correctly or is impaired, we will experience dizziness or lightheadedness, which are also both symptoms of Meniere's disease.

How balance works

There are three individual systems (visual, vestibular, sensory) involved, but each must work with the other two in order to create balance/harmony.

Visual System. It makes us aware of our surroundings: whether we are standing up or sitting or lying down: in relation to what else is happening. It orientates us to our actual position.

Vestibular System. It is located in the inner ear (cochlea), is filled with fluid, and has sensory receptors. It helps us to interpret linear and rotational movements, such as stopping and running and adjusts as necessary. This is why Meniere's disease may be referred to as a vestibular condition.

Sensory System

Is responsible for the activities of our movements. It will receive messages from the brain to give the eyes direction as well as the muscles and joints to carry out the required tasks, and adjusts as needed.

This helps to understand the need and significance for the different diagnostic tests for Meniere's disease and hearing loss. It also stresses the importance of having conclusive test results and qualified specialists managing our care.

Related Articles:

Meniere's Disease Symptoms: Ear Pain and Inner Ear Pressure


By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



Additional Resources


If you would like to know more about what we have successfully used to get relief from this debilitating condition and most of the Meniere's disease symptoms, please use this link to go to the System Information page.

In our Meniere's Disease Health Newsletter we write about all the different symptoms that people suffering from the terrible condition may experience.  You can learn more about the newsletter, or sign up for it, by Clicking Here.
We hope you found the information here helpful.  Thank you for visiting our website.




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