Nobody knows what causes Ménière’s disease – an unpredictable and debilitating condition that causes vertigo, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears.
Ménière's disease is an inner ear condition that causes dizziness or vertigo, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The disease usually affects one ear, but can occur in both.
Prosper Ménière, a French doctor, first described the disease. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but it is believed that excess fluid inside the hearing and balance canals of your inner ear may be a factor.
This fluid, called endolymph, sends signals to the brain about your hearing and balance. Too much fluid can cause swelling in the inner ear. It is believed that this swelling distorts the information sent to your brain, causing the symptoms of Ménière's disease.1-3
Ménière’s disease usually involves a combination of these symptoms:
Symptoms are often unpredictable, which can negatively affect quality of life.4 It can sometimes take several days to recover from a severe vertigo attack.
Ménière’s disease can be difficult to diagnose as other conditions sometimes cause similar symptoms. To find out if you have Ménière’s disease, your doctor will take your medical history, perform a physical exam, and conduct a few tests for hearing and balance. You may have additional tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
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.