The Telltale Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

man touching ear

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  • It can be hard for physicians to diagnose Meniere’s disease because of its varying symptoms. If you think you’re at risk of developing this condition, then read on to learn more about its common symptoms
  • If your physician suspects that you have Meniere’s disease, they may evaluate your medical history and conduct a series of examinations to come up with a proper diagnosis

Patients with Meniere's disease may experience a combination of symptoms that can significantly impact their daily lives. These warning signs may vary depending on the type of Meniere's disease that you have. The symptoms may also change before, during and after an episode.1

It can be hard for physicians to diagnose Meniere's disease because of its varying symptoms. Some patients may also mistake it for other conditions, preventing them from getting the right diagnosis and treatment approach. If you think you're at risk of developing this condition, then read on to find out more about its common symptoms.2

Pay Attention to the Hallmark Symptoms of Meniere's Disease

The symptoms of Meniere's disease tend to occur sporadically, which is why they're often referred to as "episodes" or "attacks."3 An attack may last anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours. The frequency of an episode may also vary — some cases may go into remission for years, while others tend to occur weekly.4 Here are the symptoms that you may encounter during an episode of Meniere's disease:5,6


Characterized by a sudden spinning sensation that may also stop spontaneously, vertigo is the most noticeable symptom of Meniere's disease. It may also include sweating and palpitations.


Tinnitus is the medical term used to describe the ringing, buzzing, roaring or whistling sound in the ear. It's usually more noticeable when you're in a quiet environment.

Hearing loss

Initially, hearing loss may occur intermittently in people with Meniere's disease. However, this may become permanent over time.

Aural fullness

Aural fullness refers to the feeling of excessive pressure on the affected ear or on the side of your head.


Headaches often occur together with aural fullness, since it's caused by increased ear pressure.


Nausea and vomiting usually occur together with vertigo.

The symptoms mentioned above not only interfere with your day-to-day tasks, but may also put you in danger, especially when you're driving, doing sports or working with heavy machinery. Talk to your physician the moment that you experience any of them to figure out how to reduce their impact on your daily life.

Stages of Meniere's Disease: A Closer Look at the Progression of Its Warning Signs

The course of Meniere's disease can be divided into three stages. Each stage has varying symptoms and severity:7,8

Early stage: You may experience unpredictable episodes of vertigo that last for a few minutes up to a whole day. You may also encounter fluctuating episodes of hearing loss, and your affected ear may feel blocked and full because of tinnitus.

Middle stage: The second stage of Meniere's disease involves less severe episodes of vertigo. However, tinnitus and hearing loss may worsen during this period. After the onset of symptoms, your condition may go into remission for several months.

Late stage: In this stage, episodes of vertigo may become less frequent or may disappear completely. However, you may experience severe hearing loss and balance problems.

After an onset of symptoms, you may experience extreme fatigue and exhaustion, requiring you to sleep for hours to recover. It's also not unusual for sufferers to experience psychological problems and/or emotional stress due to Meniere's disease. In fact, these are considered secondary symptoms. Some of the psychological problems that you may encounter include:9,10



Loss of self-confidence

Poor concentration

How Is Meniere's Disease Diagnosed?

If your physician suspects that you have Meniere's disease, they may evaluate your medical history and conduct a series of examinations to come up with a proper diagnosis. Your condition will only be classified as Meniere's disease if you've experienced hearing loss, tinnitus and two episodes of vertigo that lasted for at least 20 minutes. Some of the diagnostic procedures that you may undergo include:11

Hearing test: Also known as audiometry, a hearing test determines how well you identify sounds at different volumes and pitches. In this test, you'll hear noises from a headphone, and you indicate if you can/can't hear a sound. Patients with Meniere's disease usually cannot hear low-frequency tones.

Once your doctor confirms that you have hearing problems, you may either undergo an electrocochleography (ECog) to measure the electrical activity in your inner ear or an auditory brainstem response (ABR) to check if your hearing nerves are causing the problem.

Balance assessment: Your doctor may require you to undergo different types of balance tests in between episodes of Meniere's disease. The most common test used for patients with this condition is the electronystagmography (ENG), which involves tracking involuntary eye movement using electrodes that are placed around the eyes.

Other balance tests that may be done include vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP), posturography, video head impulse test (vHIT) and rotary chair testing.

In addition to the diagnostic methods mentioned above, your doctor may also recommend you to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or a computerized tomography (CT) scan to rule out the possibility that your symptoms are caused by a brain disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor.12


Meniere's Disease: Introduction

What Is Meniere's Disease?

Meniere's Disease Symptoms

Meniere's Disease Causes

Meniere's Disease Treatment

Meniere's Disease Prevention

Meniere's Disease Diet

Meniere's Disease FAQ

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