Living With Meniere's Disease - The Mysterious Inner Ear Disorder
I recommend the following for help:
- MENIERES.ORG -- Coping support site for Meniere's Disease. You are not alone!
Information and support for those who have Meniere's Disease (Morbus Meniere) and those who love them.
Like living with a ghost...?
It's almost frightening to see how many people out there are living with this inner ear disorder known as Meniere's Disease. My first reaction is always emotional, always a somewhat angry 'wonder', on how the medical world has not managed to gain more knowledge and possible treatments/cures for this debilitating disorder. Yet now, I cannot help but feel guilty for the less severity I have suffered over the past 8 years or so, after hearing about so many more excruciating cases.
As some may already know, any type of problems or ailments regarding the inner ear canal can alter a person's quality of daily routine very easily. When it comes to inner ear symptoms such as dizziness, imbalance, or sounds in the head, each minute will seem like eternity. I guess I am glad to see more about this disease getting out in the mainstream, but not to see how many more people it continues to invade. I will however never forget one of the many ENT's I was sent to long ago, and his response to my visit with complaints of the roaring/whooshing sounds in my head...."Be glad it sounds like you are hearing the ocean waves all the time. Some people never get to hear the ocean once." True story. That had to be one of my darkest moments, that I will never forget.
I have had what would very much be considered 'mild' off-and-on symptoms of Meniere's, but mostly reaching peak in a period of about 2 to 3 years. It then leveled off into what some might call a remission. I have very wide-spread episodes. My hearing levels have not had any drastic drops in quality, although I do now have extremely sensitive reactions to sound in general. I watch my diet closely whenever the slightest early symptom arrives, and make sure I get adequate amounts of sleep my body requires. What some may not realize is that Meniere's will often lead to severe cases of Depression. I myself have fought against this for many years and still fight to this day. Managing my guilt of what I've been through compared to all the sufferers out there with much more servere cases, is something I still struggle with. If I can help even just one person though, with tips on how to try to stabilize minor cases of Meniere's, then I would have at least accomplished something. Below are some things that have helped me most:
- Avoid Caffeine - Over 90% of my soda and tea consumption is caffeine-free
- Avoid Alcohol - Especially Beer, which is known to trigger Meniere's symptoms
- Monitor Sodium Intake - Processed foods have an enormous amount of salt and will definitely lead to ear 'congestion' and fluid retention
- Monitor Sugar Intake - Too much sugar in your diet can also lead to an onset of symptoms
- Extra Sleep - Never deprive yourself of adequate sleep and be sure to get 'extra' hours in with the first sign of any symptoms
- Keep Your Head Above Water - Seriously, do not let water from the shower or pool get in your ears, as this seems to always lead to full-blown vertigo attacks with me
- Manage Depression - If you are not treating any depression problems, you may have more than your average amount of episodes
I close in saying 'be strong.' There CAN be lights at the end of some tunnels. Try to educate those close to you in your life, and don't give up. Unfortunately, with this disease, aside from fellow sufferers, YOU will have to be your own biggest supporter.