Meniere correctly posited that vertigo, balance issues, and hearing impairment were, in fact, the result of a problem with the ear. 

As a result, the disorder would eventually come to be named after him. 

To this day, Meniere's disease is idiopathic, meaning we've no idea what specific mechanisms cause it to manifest. Although it's mostly seen in people aged 40-60, it's also been observed in patients of all ages. Theories as to its origin include links to migraines, circulatory problems, allergies, viral infections, and even genetic factors.

The most significant issue with Meniere's is that it's difficult to fully categorize. Symptoms tend to fluctuate rapidly as the condition progresses. At best, we can offer some general advice and the recommendation that you speak to a professional audiologist. 

Stage One

In the early stages of the illness, you may experience hearing loss, vertigo, and dizziness of varying severity. Some people may also notice a sort of 'aura' before they suffer an attack, which may include vertigo, migraine, sound sensitivity, tinnitus, increased pressure in the ears, and hearing impairment. Balance problems also frequently accompany this aura. 

An attack may either last less than an hour or up to a full day. As it progresses, you'll likely suffer an intense bout of fatigue, requiring a great deal of rest to recover. In between attacks, you may also experience changes to your appetite, issues with coordination, frequent headaches, motion sickness, and nausea.

This may occur multiple times per week.

As you may have surmised, Meniere's is somewhat unpredictable, and therefore difficult to manage for both doctors and patients. 

Stage Two

As the disease progresses and increases in severity, something strange happens. Although you may still experience flare-ups, they may actually grow less severe over time. Don't allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security.

Doctors theorize that this is the stage at which permanent hearing damage begins to develop. During stage two, you may also notice your coordination growing increasingly impaired. Your tinnitus may become increasingly difficult to ignore, as well. 

Stage Three

Stage three sees an exponential increase in hearing loss, often accompanied by distorted sound. Although vertigo seems to diminish during this stage, the damage has already been done. The ear's balance functions have likely been devastating, resulting in significant issues with coordination and depth perception. 

Beyond stage three, hearing loss becomes increasingly profound and fluctuates less between episodes. You may experience more consistent feelings of congestion in the ear, and find it difficult to maintain your balance even for short periods. Visual stimulation, lack of sleep, and low lighting have been found to worsen these symptoms. 

Treatment Options

There's no specific test to determine the presence or absence of Meniere's disease. The most you can do is visit an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT) to be tested for other disorders that may share symptoms with the condition. As for treatment, it may include: 

  • Prescription medication.
  • Therapeutic techniques for management of tinnitus. 
  • Hearing aids. 
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy. 
  • Surgery. 

The best advice we can give is to speak with your primary care provider to explore your options.