Meniere’s disease is a balance and hearing disorder that mainly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60. The disorder affects the inner ear, whose roles include hearing and balance.
In most cases, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear and may go into remission within a few years after diagnosis. However, in many cases, Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Diseases, NIDCD, about 45,500 new cases are diagnosed annually.
While the cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, the disorder causes a buildup of fluid within the labyrinth. This distorts normal balance and interferes with the movement of hearing signals to the brain. When this happens, disruption of middle ear functions occurs, which leads to a range of symptoms. Below are the top 10 Meniere’s disease symptoms to be aware of.
Symptom #1: Plugged-Up Feeling
Many people with Meniere’s disease feel that there is pressure in the affected ear. This plugged-up feeling is one of the major symptoms of Meniere’s disease in addition to tinnitus, hearing loss, and vertigo. The sensation usually comes and goes over and over. And while Meniere’s disease normally occurs in only one ear, the plugged-up feeling may be felt in one or both the ears.
There are many causes of this plugged-up feeling such as infections like bacterial otitis media, fluid behind the eardrum, or retracted eardrum. In some of these cases, examination of the eardrum may show some symptoms. However, in a Meniere’s disease patient, even repeated otoscopy examinations usually show that the eardrum is normal. For this reason, it helps to consult an ear health specialist.