Karin & David Henderson

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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
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Testing and Diagnosis
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Meniere's Disease Symptoms

We have been working online with Meniere's Disease since 2000.  And we are still frequently told that it doesn't have a "cause". At least, no one has discovered one yet. That is so wrong.


Once you have more knowledge and resources, you can think a lot of this through for yourself. This page is designed to discuss Meniere's Disease symptoms. You also NEED to realize that nothing ever happens in our bodies without a cause. It’s fine to recognize the feelings you have but don't you ask yourself why they happen?


Therefore every sign and every symptom has to have a PRECEDING, underlying cause. It took us several years to really understand this and then find the courage to share it with others. Sadly no one tells you how to do this. But my links (and I want you to check them out, please) will reflect what doctors depend on for their diagnosis. That way, you can understand that perspective. I think one of the most frequent questions I get asked is why doctors don’t tell you these things. Now you know.


Doctors are trained to treat symptoms and most often with prescriptions. So they treat the balance and hearing symptoms with drugs they feel are most appropriate. And honestly, do you not go to the doctor for help with your Meniere's disease symptoms? Don’t you expect a prescription? The treatment offered will always reflect the symptoms,  never the underlying cause, which ironically can be a drug’s side effects.


A doctor comes to this diagnostic conclusion after asking a series of questions. They will have evaluated what is known as the classic Meniere’s symptoms: 1) inner ear pressure 2) tinnitus 3) dizziness / vertigo 4) hearing fluctuation.


They may even call it Endolymphatic Hydrops or Vertigo Disease. Some people are told they have BPPV. In the truest sense of the word, that would only relate to balance symptoms, but I hear all sorts of names! However, the Meniere’s signs and symptoms always relate to the balance and or hearing nerves, and the results they produce.


In the medical world, “signs and symptoms” are the backbone of any diagnosis. “Signs” are things you can see or the examiner can feel: redness, swelling/edema, cuts, growths, etc. So if you look closely for “signs”, you may find a bit of redness in the middle ear, or a bulge (selling) of the eardrum, but few other “signs” show up. Common sense tells us that it is virtually impossible to look INSIDE the inner ear without special equipment. One thing to also keep in mind as you think about signs is that the sufferer LOOKS perfectly normal themselves! No SIGN of anything being wrong and that is very frustrating for everyone!


“Symptoms” are what you feel. No one can tell you how it feels when you are dizzy: you have to guess at its severity. You have to guess at how loud “loud” is. There are tests to measure changes of hearing loss, but I know of no test to measure hearing fluctuation.  I strongly suspect that if the cause has not been present JUST before the testing is done (so you now would have to experience an episode), the testing will not reflect the actual symptoms, your reality.


Let’s look at these Meniere's disease symptoms individually using medical sites as our resource:


1) Inner ear pressure

MedlinePlus has several sites, but we will choose the overall link and then the National Institutes of Health (NIH) link:.


2) Tinnitus


3) Dizziness / vertigo: these are sometimes connected and other times used separately. It all seems to depend on the practitioner and the website.

4) Hearing fluctuation: one moment you can hear, the next moment or hour, you can’t, or the sounds are distorted.

Keep in mind, that there has to be testing done to rule out any pathology. Do not neglect to do this. You need this peace of mind.

Also I urge you to look at as many sites as you can handle. I know it gets a bit depressing to read all the negative information, but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Once you can appreciate the different perspectives, it should also give you some “food for thought” as to your original diagnosis and prognosis (outcome). Maybe, just maybe, you can realize that there could be more than one way to look at this set of symptoms.

Most of what you will find says it is a disease, and there is nothing to be done. Keep an open mind. Keep holding to the knowledge that this is all about “cause and effect”. Nothing happens in our bodies without it. But few people are encouraged to think this way. Be the first in your family!


As you can appreciate, because of our website and my medical knowledge, I have heard an awful lot of people’s descriptions of their symptoms over the last many years.

Every single person’s experience is different. The sad part is that many people try to put themselves into a mold for a diagnosis. Yet this mold then stops them (and others) from looking for the cause and then fixing that cause. I am not talking here about the symptoms. I encourage you to search for the cause. You really need to use your own critical thinking skills to work this out. If you have ever contacted me and asked if you have Meniere’s Disease, I would have discouraged from using that name and ONLY encourage you to seek help for the symptoms. Honestly, who cares what the name is? Don’t you simply want to be rid of the symptoms? So look for that and ignore the Meniere’s name. It is too depressing!


Let’s look at what people TELL ME what they experience in terms Meniere's disease symptoms. One of these unpleasant experiences or episodes of Meniere's Disease is called an "attack". Keep in mind most people have a combination of balance and hearing symptoms concurrently, or they may overlap partially.


Typically, an attack is characterized by a combination of vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. These can last for seconds, minutes, several hours, or sometimes even days. Some people may feel slight vertigo (loss of balance) a few times a year. Others experience these discomforts at varying frequencies, durations, and intensities. This alone should make you really look for the cause!


People usually experience some vertigo, (loss of balance) tinnitus, (ringing or a roaring sound in the ear), and a degree of hearing loss or fluctuation, but again, everyone is different.


Some people feel nauseated and vomit during an attack. Let’s look at vomiting. This is really important!  If you know how the body reacts, you know vomiting is one way to get toxins out of your body. It can also be a reaction TO something. Many times, if you take a drug, the cautions for side effects will tell you to contact your doctor if you have these severe symptoms. Often vomiting will be one of those. So can you see how important it is to look for causes?


Hearing symptoms are very “interesting”. Some people have no hearing: they are deaf, yet they can tell you they have horrible tinnitus! Others have unbearable noises or screeching! Some people eventually get their hearing back: others do not. Some people notice some hearing loss, especially with sounds that have a low tone. Others may be occasionally disturbed by intense, uncontrollable tinnitus, (ringing in the ear) while sleeping, but have normal hearing most of the time.

Some Meniere's Disease sufferers may notice a fluctuating hearing loss and may feel unsteady all day long for prolonged periods. Many of these attacks have a sudden onset, giving no warning. So it's difficult to be prepared. It's also very scary for anyone around the sufferer.

The vertigo and dizziness are described as a spinning or whirling feeling and may cause problems with balance (feeling unstable while walking). Dizziness does not seem to be quite the same as vertigo. Dizziness is described more like lightheadedness. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as severe (or as problematic) as vertigo. Vertigo, often the most debilitating symptom of Meniere's disease, forces the sufferer to lie down, sometimes for days! Vertigo attacks can also be accompanied by severe nausea, vomiting, and sweating and again, come with little or no warning.

Tinnitus, (ringing or a roaring sound in the ear), causes great frustration. The person often can't hear above their own internal noise. Therefore they get left out of conversations and activities. Moreover the noise itself is very irritating. That causes stress. Tinnitus can be a very difficult problem to treat in many individuals and can be quite disruptive to their lifestyle.

Loss of hearing causes many of the same problems as the tinnitus plus it adds its own. The hearing loss seems most often to affect the ability to hear low voices and tones. If the cause of it isn’t dealt with and it progresses, less and less is heard. Again this leads to depression and a feeling of abandonment.

But please be very aware of the hearing loss issue. Often we hear that it has returned. Don‘t just assume it’s always going to be this way. No one can tell. The family must be extra aware of all of these side issues. Not only is the sufferer feeling these symptoms, they also have a great deal of frustration. They know they are also placing an extra burden on the family. And everyone living with this condition, sufferer or family member, is aware of this. Consequently, it all leads to more depression and stress.

For many people, hearing tends to recover between attacks, but over time, the quality seems to become worse. So in some cases hearing returns and in some cases, it never returns! People also mention feelings of fullness or pressure in the ear. (Or popping, buzzing, or clicking).

Again, always, keep in mind that NO two bodies are the same way. Therefore the reactions would naturally be different.
I also hear from people who sometimes occasionally have other Meniere's Disease symptoms such as headaches, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. In every case, I get them to research those terms. This, again, opens up your mind to other possible CAUSES.

People talk about feeling extreme fatigue and exhaustion, nausea, & vomiting, the inability to concentrate, distraction, poor memory, confusion, and disorientation. We hear about extreme sensitivity to noise, light sensitivity, headaches, and night blindness. There are complaints of muscle and joint pain, and malaise due to atmospheric pressure changes. Because of these uncontrollable and depressing attacks, some people may feel they are experiencing panic attacks. Personally I feel these again are all the result of some cause, but so often they are brushed aside as not being important. These are not necessarily Meniere's disease symptoms, they are the symptoms people mention alongside their other, more classic, symptoms. So they ARE important!

I wanted to mention “nystagmus” or uncontrollable eye movements This refers to rapid involuntary movements of the eyes that may be from side to side (horizontal nystagmus), up and down (vertical nystagmus) or rotary. This is one of the diagnostic tests, but nystagmus itself is not listed as one of classic signs and symptoms. I am going to digress for a minute here. I have heard from people whose outdated (? contaminated?) mascara did this! Yet this is one of the definitive tests. So once again, do some searching for the cause and do your own thinking.

This page is designed to talk about Meniere's disease symptoms and signs. Please do yourself a huge favor and check into the reason FOR YOUR symptoms. Here is a link to an article that talks about this very issue; Meniere's Disease cause and effect.

By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



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