We lose our hearing for many different reasons. One condition that can cause profound hearing loss is Ménière’s Disease. Ménière’s is an inner ear condition that causes tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss and significant problems with balance and vertigo, which can be incapacitating and career ending. Ménière’s is usually unilateral (one sided), but can occur in both ears.
I’ve had Ménière’s for almost twenty years now, and I’d like to share some insights on the challenges of living with Ménière’s.
First, let’s look at some of the anatomy of the inner ear and what goes wrong with Ménière’s. The ear is divided into three parts, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear includes the visible outer ear, or pinna, and the external auditory canal, which is the tube leading from the outside to the ear drum, or tympanic membrane.
The middle ear includes the ear drum and the ossicles, or small bones, which transmit sound vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear.
The inner ear is a collection of structures imbedded in the temporal bone of the skull. Two of these structures are the cochlea and semi-circular canals. The cochlea is the organ that provides your hearing and the semi-circular canals manage your equilibrium and balance. There is a fluid called endolymph that runs between these two structures. With Ménière’s, for some as yet undetermined reason, the fluid pressure in those two structures rises to a critical level and begins to kill the hair cells (nerve cells) in the cochlea and semi-circular canals. This leads to the symptoms of Ménière’s, including tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss.
A big Ménière’s attack lasts for several hours and includes very strong spinning dizziness, vomiting, significant headache, sweating and sensory hypersensitivity, almost like a migraine headache.
I’ve been fortunate, and not had an attack for several years now. As with most tribulation, I’ve found that the best response is a strong attitude.
If you’ve had hearing loss due to Ménière’s Disease or any other reason, please contact us here at the Hearing Care Shop or give us a call on 1300 919 664.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!