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Meniere Disease

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Meniere Disease


Meniere disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It results in repeat attacks of vertigo (a spinning sensation) and problems hearing. Treatment can help manage symptoms.

The Inner Ear.

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The exact cause is not known. It is thought to be caused by many things, such as:

  • A buildup of fluid in the part of the inner ear known as the labyrinth
  • Genetics
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Infection
  • Trauma

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who are 30 to 60 years of age. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having other family members who have this health problem
  • Pressure changes in the atmosphere
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Changes in hormones
  • Problems sleeping
  • Dietary changes, such as an increase in salt, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Excessive sweating followed by a sudden increase in fluids


Problems may come and go. They may also be in one or both ears. A person may have:

  • A sensation of spinning while standing still
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear(s)
  • Problems hearing


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the ears. The person may be referred to a doctor who treats ears.

A hearing test will be done. Other tests may be done to make the diagnosis. They may include:

  • MRI scan —to look at internal structures of the ear
  • Electrocochleogram—to check function of the hearing organ in the inner ear
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potential test—to check muscle activity in response to sound
  • Caloric testing—to check for nerve damage
  • Glycerol dehydration test—to see whether hearing improves after using a dehydrating agent


There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Options are:

  • Medicines to:
    • Ease vertigo
    • Control nausea
    • Reduce fluid buildup
  • Dietary changes, such as limiting salt, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and safety measures to avoid falling
  • Physical therapy to learn vestibular exercises—to get the body used to moving without vertigo
  • A Meniett device that gives low-pressure pulses to the middle ear
  • A counselor or support group to learn how to cope with symptoms

People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery, such as:

  • Endolymphatic sac surgery—to remove of a portion of inner ear bone and drain excess fluid
  • Labyrinthectomy—to destroy or remove the entire inner ear
  • Vestibular nerve section—to cut the nerve in the ear that controls balance


There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.





  • Hoskin JL. Ménière's disease: new guidelines, subtypes, imaging, and more. Curr Opin Neurol. 2022;35(1):90-97.
  • Meniere disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/meniere-disease.
  • Meniere's disease. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/menieres-disease.
  • Meniere's disease. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/menieres-disease.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.