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Do hearing aids help with Meniere’s disease?

Last update on Apr, 08, 2023

Every year, about 45,500 people are newly diagnosed with Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder. While there is no cure, a variety of treatments, therapies and lifestyle changes can improve the condition. Hearing aids may also alleviate some of the most distressing symptoms and allow sufferers to regain control of their lives.

What is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic, progressive inner ear disorder. It is most often characterized by sudden spells of dizziness (vertigo), accompanied by tinnitus, ear pressure or a feeling of fullness, and hearing loss. (Typically, only one ear is affected.) Symptoms come and go, and an “episode” can come on suddenly or in bursts over several days. Over the course of many years, the disease typically progresses through three stages of advancement, where the frequency of vertigo attacks decrease but hearing loss and tinnitus may progress.

There is no cure for the condition, and in advanced stages, it can be debilitating and significantly affect the sufferer's quality of life. Patients may find relief and avoid permanent hearing damage through medications, treatments and the use of hearing aids for the hearing loss associated with Meniere’s disease.

This condition presents various symptoms, caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear. Meniere’s disease symptoms can include:

  • Vertigo: This dizziness or spinning sensation can lead to nausea and vomiting. Vertigo can last as little as 20 minutes up to 12 or more hours.
  • Balance issues: Vertigo attacks due to Meniere’s disease can lead to problems with balance. In some cases, vertigo can be so intense it can cause “drop attacks” or episodes where sufferers suddenly lose their balance and fall. 
  • Aural fullness: It’s common for those with Meniere’s disease to experience pressure or a full feeling in the affected ear.
  • Tinnitus: This sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing or swishing in one or both ears can get progressively worse as the disease progresses.
  • Hearing loss: During the early stages of the disease, hearing loss can come and go or fluctuate. As the disease progresses, it may become permanent. 

Doctors have not identified a single Meniere’s disease cause. According to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, there are a number of theories about the root cause or trigger of Meniere’s disease, including:

  • Constrictions in blood vessels similar to those that cause migraine headaches.
  • Complications from viral infections, allergies or autoimmune disorders.
  • Genetic variations that affect the endolymph fluid.  
Woman touching her right ear

Any of those symptoms sound familiar?

If you or a loved one is experiencing Meniere's disease, visit us for a free hearing test.

How can I manage my Meniere's disease?

Meniere’s disease treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and supportive therapies to manage symptoms.

Some patients find that limiting salt intake and taking diuretic pills can help alleviate dizziness associated with Meniere’s disease. You may also be advised to limit or cut out caffeine, chocolate and alcohol and avoid foods that contain tyramine—an amino acid in foods such as red wine, bananas, nuts, yogurt and ripened cheeses. Patients who smoke are advised to quit

A doctor may prescribe medications to target the fluid buildup in the inner ear. The pressure release can ease symptoms like vertigo and tinnitus. Other medications for Meniere’s disease are designed to alleviate nausea brought on by vertigo. 

Hearing aids can help counterbalance the hearing loss and tinnitus associated with Meniere’s disease.

Antibiotic injections can reduce vertigo but carry a risk of hearing loss. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to relieve pressure from the endolymphatic sac. 

Some patients experience relief with alternative therapies like acupuncture, reflexology or other complementary and holistic options.  

VR is a therapeutic program that uses exercises to alleviate dizziness and balance issues. 

Cognitive behavior therapy or talk therapy can help patients manage the psychological and emotional challenges that often come along with chronic illnesses. A therapist can help you develop coping mechanisms to deal with life-altering symptoms like dizziness, tinnitus and hearing loss. 

The good news is Meniere’s disease treatment often does work. One study¹ found that more than 87% of patients who underwent a year of treatment and therapies for Meniere’s disease experienced preserved or improved hearing at low frequencies. Additionally, 40% of affected ears in the study were restored to, or maintained at, a normal hearing level.

Grandfather playing with his grandson on a beach near the sea

Suffering from Meniere's disease?

Visit your closest Miracle-Ear center and speak to our professionals to discover more about Meniere's disease and possible solutions for your hearing health. Our hearing care team may be able to help you find a hearing aid that can help you manage symptoms associated with your Meniere's disease.

How do hearing aids help with Meniere's disease?

Hearing aids can improve hearing loss and relieve tinnitus—both prominent symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Wearing a hearing aid may also alleviate stress and anxiety brought on by hearing loss and help slow or prevent cognitive decline.

Hearing aids can help relieve tinnitus associated with Meniere’s disease by amplifying external sounds, which can help mask the irritating ringing or buzzing, making it less noticeable.

New and developing research suggests a hearing loss-brain health connection, as well as connections with vestibular disorders including Meniere’s disease. In 2023, researchers from Johns Hopkins University² found that, older adults with hearing loss as well several comorbidities (i.e. other diseases such as diabetes or heart disease) were at a higher risk for dementia.

Those who had hearing loss and comorbidities, but who used hearing aids, experienced a nearly 50% reduction in the rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who did not use hearing aids. For those who suffer hearing loss due to Meniere’s disease, there seems to be promising signs that hearing aids could offer similar cognitive benefits.  

Hearing aids reduce listening fatigue and the stress associated with not being able to participate or follow conversations. By improving communication, hearing aids may alleviate some stressors related to hearing loss. This is especially important for those with Meniere’s disease because emotional stress has been shown to trigger attacks.
hearing care professional at store

Miracle-EarBLISS™ Technology

For over 75 years, Miracle-Ear® has connected loved ones through better hearing using the latest in hearing technology. We are thrilled to introduce Miracle-EarBLISS™, our newest and most innovative line of hearing aids.

Experiencing Meniere's disease symptoms?

If you’re dealing with symptoms related to Meniere’s disease, including tinnitus, hearing loss, stress or vertigo, don’t put off seeking diagnosis by a physician. Meniere’s disease is a progressive condition, meaning if left untreated, it can worsen over time.

Consult your doctor and they may recommend that you visit a Miracle-Ear hearing center to learn more about your hearing options. Our hearing health care specialists can recommend Miracle-Ear advanced hearing aids that address specific challenges related to Meniere’s disease. Call today or book an appointment online and start your journey toward healthy hearing.


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