About Ménière’s Disease

Ménière’s disease is an inner ear condition that causes vertigo, hearing loss, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Many Ménière’s disease patients also have a feeling of pressure in the affected ear(s).

Usually Ménière’s disease affects one ear, however, it can occur in both. The vertigo attacks of Ménière’s disease can be very debilitating, and put you more at risk for falls and accidents.

People with active Ménière’s disease can have a very low quality of life. Coping with the disease is often hard for family members, too, because of the restrictions it imposes on their relative.


Ménière’s disease usually involves a combination of these symptoms:

  • Vertigo (dizziness), often with nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing or roaring in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Fluctuating hearing loss
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear

Ménière’s disease symptoms are often unpredictable, making it difficult to function in daily life. It can take several days to recover from a severe vertigo attack.

Ménière’s disease is an inner ear condition that causes vertigo, hearing loss and ringing in the ears


What initially causes Ménière’s disease is unknown, however, all patients have too much fluid (endolymph) in the inner ear. Movement of the endolymph sends messages to the brain about your hearing and balance. Too much endolymph can cause swelling in the inner ear which distorts the signals transmitted to your brain and causes the symptoms of Ménière’s disease.


Ménière’s disease can be hard to diagnose because other conditions sometimes cause similar symptoms. To find out if you have Ménière’s disease, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical examination. You will also have a few painless tests for hearing and balance. Additional tests may be necessary to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Living with Ménière’s disease

Interactive anatomical illustrations

Normal ear

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Ménière’s Disease

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