Meniere’s it is..

So my co-worker called it right. After my visit with the ENT at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary today, it was determined that I have Meniere’s Disease.  Which is kind of an answer that is a non-answer.  Essentially, the main symptoms are exactly what I have – ringing in the ear, sensor neural hearing loss in one ear only, past episodes of vertigo, fullness in the ear.  So while I have a diagnosis, I don’t have many other answers. No one knows the real cause of it – it could be trauma to the head, fluid in the inner ear, nerve damage, viral or bacterial infection.  And there is no cure, only management of the symptoms. In my case, I don’t have much vertigo. Once in a while, I’ll get light headed but other than that I haven’t had tremendous vertigo since I got really sick with this stomach virus maybe 5 years ago or so – the spinning lasted for like two weeks. I can even read when I’m on the treadmill, bike or elliptical machine. For me, it’s the hearing loss, fullness in the ear and ringing in the ears that is really annoying me to no end.  So, essentially I need to make some lifestyle changes that hopefully will help me out – cutting down on alcohol and caffeine and managing stress better.  One step at a time.  I can cut out alcohol pretty much cold turkey and limit it. With regards to the caffeine, starting tomorrow I’m on a strict one caffeinated beverage a day limit. Being that I quit both alcohol and caffeine cold turkey during both of my pregnancies, I think that I can manage that right now.

The stress thing is a different issue completely. There is so much I can’t control with regards to my job and my cases that managing my stress is often much more difficult than it seems.  I am going to make more of an effort to go to the gym more often doing a combination of yoga, classes and the machines. That might help.  Maybe also getting a bi-weekly massage or pedicure or something like that.  I have also taken to journalling and I find that this can be helpful sometimes as well.

The ENT also wrote me a referral for a hearing aid for my right ear only.  So tomorrow I will be contacting HR to see if our insurance covers hearing aids in one ear and then I will be scheduling some time with the audiology department here in NH to help me figure out what hearing aid is appropriate for me.  Because it doesn’t look like I will be getting better any time soon and I may actually get worse as I age.  I’m hoping that the lifestyle changes prevent this though…



2 thoughts on “Meniere’s it is..

  1. While I’m glad that you have an answer, I’m sorry that it is a diagnosis that they seem to know so little about. I think you have some great ideas to help with the stress–but don’t forget about your sense of humor! That will be one of the best things to help you. You might want to consider acupuncture too. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard it does wonders for peoplel

    I’ll be thinking of you!

  2. My father had Meniere’s when he was going through the divorce with my mother; he was a guy who was under a tremendous amount of stress before, but that just pushed it over the edge. It pretty much went away when the divorce finalized and he quit his job and moved across the country. Not that I’m advocating any of that as treatment, but we’d love to have you in Portland. 🙂

    Seriously, though, I hope it clears on its own AND that your hearing aid is covered by insurance!

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