Meniere’s Disease: An Inner Ear Allergy
Meniere’s disease is caused when the fluids of the inner ear increase, putting pressure on the delicate membranes that provide hearing and balance. This increase in inner ear fluid pressure is commonly associated with a delayed food allergy. It occurs in any age group, but most often in ages 20-50.
- Fluctuating ear fullness and muffled hearing / sound distortion, especially for low pitches
- Recurrent tinnitus: buzzing, clicking, popping, loud roaring, or ringing
- True vertigo episodes with nausea and even vomiting, sometimes associated with tinnitus and ear fullness.
- Recurrent balance problems
- Sensitivity to certain sounds, often low pitched sounds such as road noise, and a low pitched musical sound or voice.
Although hearing loss early in the disease is intermittent, eventually becomes permanent, and can involve all frequencies.
Meniere’s disease can produce disability, especially from dizziness.
A complete history is obtained regarding frequency of ear fullness, intermittent tinnitus, dizziness, hearing loss and noise sensitivity. Also, it may be important to note a trauma to the inner ear from head injury or loud noise (acoustic trauma) prior to the onset of Meniere's symptoms. Some cases of Meniere's are precipitated by excessive salt intake and fluid retention.
An audiogram often detects a sensorineural hearing loss, particularly in the lower frequencies. Inner ear and balance tests can be done but are seldom necessary. An MRI scan of the head with attention to the inner ear is done in some cases, especially when the onset of symptoms is abrupt, or gradually worsening, and there is little if any fluctuation of symptoms.
Traditional treatment includes methods of lowering inner ear fluid pressure by low salt diet and diuretics; this offers temporary partial relief at best and does little to halt the progression of the disease. Similarly, medications to control vertigo have no effect on the overall disease process. Sedatives and psychiatric counselling for the dizziness and tinnitus have been tried.
In a study of 50 patients over several years, the symptoms of hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus have improved in the majority of patients with Allertol®
multi-food SLIT. Because of the success using Allertol®
, very few patients have had to change diet or lifestyle and none have required inner ear shunt or destructive inner ear surgery.