What Is Low Pressure Pulse Therapy?

The unpredictable dizziness or vertigo of Ménière’s disease can make it very difficult to cope with daily activities. Low pressure pulse therapy may help reduce your dizziness so you can get back to life.

The low pressure pulse device delivers air pressure pulses through a special earplug that you hold in your ear.

Detail - The low pressure pulse device delivers air pressure pulses through a special earplug that you hold in your ear. Low pressure pulses pass through a tiny vent tube to the middle ear, where they may help reduce the fluid pressure in the inner ear.

The device delivers micropressure pulses to your inner ear through a tube that you hold to your ear.

In studying underwater divers and airplane pilots, scientists found that air pressure changes often caused dizziness.1,2 They thought that if changing air pressure could cause dizziness, it might also help get rid of the dizziness felt by patients with Ménière’s disease.

In 1976, the first patients with Ménière’s disease were treated with changes in air pressure. While these patients rested in a large metal tube (hyperbaric pressure chamber), the air pressure was slowly adjusted.3 The treatment eased their symptoms, but it wasn’t very practical. In the 1990s, scientists developed a portable and compact form of pressure therapy: a low pressure pulse device.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology studied the medical literature on using micropressure therapy for Ménière’s disease. This organization for ENT specialists found micropressure therapy such as a low pressure pulse device has been helpful for some patients, especially when medical treatment hasn't worked.4

How the Low Pressure Pulse Device Works

It is thought that pressure pulses cause fluid in the inner ear to flow. This may help reduce the fluid and pressure that are believed to cause Ménière’s disease symptoms.

The inner ear constantly produces fluid, so pressure slowly builds again even after low pressure pulse therapy. That’s why the therapy has to be repeated regularly.

More Facts

A tiny ventilation tube (vent tube) must be inserted in your eardrum before you can begin low pressure pulse therapy. This allows the pulses to pass through the eardrum to the inner ear.

Doctors typically prescribe three treatments per day, and each treatment lasts 5 minutes. To begin a treatment session, you generally hold a special soft earplug in the outer ear. The earplug is attached to a tube that goes into the device, which sends low-pressure pulses to your inner ear. The micropressure pulses are controlled by a small computer inside the device.

References

  1. Lundgren CEG. Alternobaric vertigo – a diving hazard. Br Med J. 1965;2:511-3.
  2. Tjernström Ö. 1974. Alternobaric vertigo. An experimental study in man of vertigo due to atmospheric pressure changes. Thesis, Malmö General Hospital. 1974.
  3. Ingelstedt S., Ivarsson A., Tjernström Ö., Immediate relief of symptoms during acute attacks of Ménière's disease, using a pressure chamber. Acta Otolaryngol. Stockh. 1976, 82(5-6): 368-378.
  4. American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Committee on Equilibrium policy statement. AAO-HNS position on micropressure therapy. Released March 2008.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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