woman getting ear check
woman getting ear check

Can Hearing Aids Help Meniere’s Disease?

What Is Meniere’s Disease?

Have you heard of Meniere’s disease? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Experts at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimate over 600,000 people in the U.S. are living with this condition. With about 45,000 new cases occurring annually, Meniere’s, like many hearing-related diseases, isn’t talked about much.

Meniere’s affects a person’s middle ear and causes vertigo-like symptoms, which can make the person feel as though the world is spinning, causing extreme discomfort and disorientation. These episodes might last for a few minutes, or several hours.

In addition to feelings of vertigo and nausea, patients describe their ears feeling “full,” as well as the ringing, buzzing and/or pulsing sensations associated with tinnitus. Only people afflicted with Meniere’s hear sounds in this way.

Meniere’s disease can also cause intermittent hearing loss that will typically lead to permanent hearing loss, especially if the condition goes untreated. Though Meniere’s in both ears is possible, most cases occur in only one ear.

What Causes Meniere’s Disease?

Unfortunately, the direct causes of Meniere’s disease are still a mystery to medical experts. It is suspected that a variety of factors contribute to an excess of fluids that build up in the inner ear, resulting in a person’s feelings of vertigo, dizziness or loss of balance. This excess of fluid puts pressure on the inner ear, where the body’s balance system is located.

Medical experts believe that the following may be contributing factors to Meniere’s disease:

  • Some combination of viral infections
  • Atypical immune responses
  • A lack of natural fluid drainage caused by blockages in the ear canal
  • Anatomical abnormalities

Since the distinct cause of Meniere’s is still unknown, there is no “cure” for the disease, but there are a variety of recommended treatments for many of the illness’ effects.

What Are Some of The Effects of Meniere’s Disease?

Outside of the balance and hearing-related issues that Meniere’s can cause, its symptoms can produce significant effects on people’s mental and emotional well-being.

Though the sample sizes that have been studied are still relatively small, it is clear that Meniere’s can be extremely disruptive to a person’s day to day life, which in turn can lead to periods of fatigue, irritability, depression, and social isolation. A person’s ability to work, focus on activities, and even hold regular conversations with loved ones or colleagues can also be negatively affected.

There are a variety of treatments for Meniere’s that experts recommend, including:

  • Balance assessments
  • Blood tests
  • MRIs
  • CT scans (in order to rule out more severe conditions)
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Short- or long-term medication
  • Hearing aids

How Can Hearing Aids Help Meniere’s Disease?

Just as hearing aids can’t cure hearing loss, they also aren’t capable of curing Meniere’s disease. Like hearing difficulties, hearing aids can significantly improve a person’s social and emotional well-being by alleviating specific symptoms they may experience.

For instance, the balance and dizziness issues caused by Meniere’s can be greatly reduced by properly fit hearing aids. Another factor that can be treated by hearing aids is tinnitus, and there are Beltone hearing aids that include tinnitus maskers.

These hearing aids have a feature that essentially plays white noise that can cancel out many of the unwanted sounds of tinnitus, allowing the wearer to focus on the things in their lives they want to. Of course, the hearing loss that people experience due to Meniere’s can also be treated with properly fit hearing aids.

A Hearing Assessment Is Essential in Treating Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s can affect people of just about any age. If you or a loved one is experiencing some combination of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and feelings of “full ears,” then you should get your hearing checked as soon as possible.

Early intervention can sometimes make all the difference in our ability to diagnose and treat Meniere’s more effectively.

At Beltone, we believe that everyone deserves to live the best life possible, and a hearing-related condition like Meniere’s can make that incredibly difficult. Our nationwide team of hearing professionals will give you the care, services and treatment recommendations you need to lead a more fulfilling way of life.

You deserve to feel your best. Don’t delay any further. Contact your local Beltone office to schedule an appointment today.

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