Tag Archives: Ménière’s disease

Tinnitus

Definition:   Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears.It may be a the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you’re trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In very rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus)……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

A common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.

Although bothersome, tinnitus usually isn’t a sign of something serious. Although it can worsen with age, for many people, tinnitus can improve with treatment. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.

There are two kinds of tinnitus:

Subjective tinnitus is tinnitus only one can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in the outer, middle or inner ear. It also can be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound (auditory pathways).

Objective tinnitus is tinnitus the doctor can hear when he or she does an examination. This rare type of tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel problem, an inner ear bone condition or muscle contractions.
Symptoms:
Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise but, in some patients, it takes the form of a high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, tinging or whistling sound or as ticking, clicking, roaring, “crickets” or “tree frogs” or “locusts (cicadas)”, tunes, songs, beeping, sizzling, sounds that slightly resemble human voices or even a pure steady tone like that heard during a hearing test and, in some cases, pressure changes from the interior ear. It has also been described as a “whooshing” sound because of acute muscle spasms, as of wind or waves. Tinnitus can be intermittent or it can be continuous: in the latter case, it can be the cause of great distress. In some individuals, the intensity can be changed by shoulder, head, tongue, jaw or eye movements.

Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss: they are often unable to clearly hear external sounds that occur within the same range of frequencies as their “phantom sounds”. This has led to the suggestion that one cause of tinnitus might be a homeostatic response of central dorsal cochlear nucleus auditory neurons that makes them hyperactive in compensation to auditory input loss.

The sound perceived may range from a quiet background noise to one that can be heard even over loud external sounds. The specific type of tinnitus called pulsatile tinnitus is characterized by hearing the sounds of one’s own pulse or muscle contractions, which is typically a result of sounds that have been created from the movement of muscles near to one’s ear, changes within the canal of one’s ear or issues related to blood flow of the neck or face.

Causes:
Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Carpenters, pilots, rock musicians, street-repair workers, and landscapers are among those whose jobs put them at risk, as are people who work with chain saws, guns, or other loud devices or who repeatedly listen to loud music. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus...CLICK & SEE : 

A variety of other conditions and illnesses may lead to tinnitus and they are as follows:
*Blockages of the ear due to a buildup of wax, an ear infection, or rarely, a benign tumor of the nerve that allows us to hear (auditory nerve)

*Certain drugs — most notably aspirin, several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, sedatives, and antidepressants, as well as quinine medications; tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs.

*The natural aging process, which can cause deterioration of the cochlea or other parts of the ear

*Meniere’s disease, which affects the inner part of the ear

*Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear

*Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, anemia, allergies, an underactive thyroid gland, and diabetes

*Neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome

*Multiple sclerosis

*Injuries to the head and neck

*External ear infection

*Acoustic shock

*Cerumen (earwax) impaction

*Middle ear effusion

*Superior canal dehiscence

*Sensorineural hearing loss

*Acoustic neuroma*Mercury or lead poisoning

*Neurologic disorders

*Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

*Giant cell arteritis

*Metabolic disorders like thyroid disease, hyperlipidemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, psychiatric disorders,diabetis

*Psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety
Tinnitus can worsen in some people if they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, or eat certain foods. For reasons not yet entirely clear to researchers, stress and fatigue seem to worsen tinnitus.

Diagnosis:
The basis of quantitatively measuring tinnitus relies on the brain’s tendency to select out only the loudest sounds heard. Based on this tendency, the amplitude of a patient’s tinnitus can be measured by playing sample sounds of known amplitude and asking the patient which they hear. The volume of the tinnitus will always be equal to or less than that of the sample noises heard by the patient. This method works very well to gauge objective tinnitus (see above). For example: if a patient has a pulsatile paraganglioma in their ear, they will not be able to hear the blood flow through the tumor when the sample noise is 5 decibels louder than the noise produced by the blood. As sound amplitude is gradually decreased, the tinnitus will become audible and the level at which it does so provides an estimate of the amplitude of the objective tinnitus.

Objective tinnitus, however, is quite uncommon. Often, patients with pulsatile tumors will report other coexistent sounds, distinct from the pulsatile noise, that will persist even after their tumor has been removed. This is generally subjective tinnitus, which, unlike the objective form, cannot be tested by comparative methods. However, pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of intracranial vascular abnormalities and should be evaluated for bruits by a medical professional with auscultation over the neck, eyes and ears. If the exam reveals a bruit, imaging studies such as transcranial doppler (TCD) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) should be performed.

The accepted definition of chronic tinnitus, as compared to normal ear noise experience, is five minutes of ear noise occurring at least twice a week. However, people with chronic tinnitus often experience the noise more frequently than this and can experience it continuously or regularly, such as during the night when there is less environmental noise to mask the sound.

Treatment:
Psychological:
The best supported treatment for tinnitus is a type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which can be delivered via the internet or in person. It decreases the amount of stress those with tinnitus feel. These benefits appear to be independent of any effect on depression or anxiety in an individual. Relaxation techniques may also be useful. A program has been developed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Medications:
There are no medications as of 2014 that are effective for tinnitus and, thus, none is recommended. There is not enough evidence to determine if antidepressants or acamprosate is useful. While there is tentative evidence for benzodiazepines, it is insufficient to support usage. Anticonvulsants have not been found to be useful.

Botulinum toxin injection has been tried with some success in cases of objective tinnitus (palatal tremor)

Others:
The use of sound therapy by either hearing aids or tinnitus maskers helps the brain ignore the specific tinnitus frequency. Although these methods are poorly supported by evidence, there are no negative effects, which makes them a reasonable option. There is some tentative evidence supporting tinnitus retraining therapy. There is little evidence supporting the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is thus not recommended.

Alternative   Therapy :
Ginkgo biloba does not appear to be effective. Tentative evidence supports zinc supplementation and in those with sleep problems, melatonin. The American Academy of Otolaryngology, however, recommends against melatonin and zinc.

Doing YOGA EXERCISE daily with PRANAYAMA (specially Anuloma belome , Kapalabhati and Bhramari ) may help a lot to improve and sometimes cure totally.
Prognosis:
Most people with tinnitus get used to it over time; for a minority, it remains a significant problem.

Prevention:
Prolonged exposure to sound or noise levels as low as 70 dB can result in damage to hearing (see noise health effects). This can lead to tinnitus. Ear plugs can help with prevention.

Avoidance of potentially ototoxic medicines. Ototoxicity of multiple medicines can have a cumulative effect and can increase the damage done by noise. If ototoxic medications must be administered, close attention by the physician to prescription details, such as dose and dosage interval, can reduce the damage done.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/multimedia/tinnitus/
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-tinnitus-basics

Meniere’s Disease

Definition:
Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo — a sensation of a spinning motion — along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear.
CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURE
People in their 40s and 50s are more likely than people in other age groups to develop Meniere’s disease, but it can occur in anyone, even children.
click to see the picture
Although Meniere’s disease is considered a chronic condition, there are various treatment strategies that can help relieve symptoms and minimize the disease’s long-term impact on your life.

It is named after the French physician Prosper Ménière, who, in an article published in 1861, first reported that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders. The condition affects people differently; it can range in intensity from being a mild annoyance to a chronic, lifelong disability

Symptoms:
The symptoms of Ménière’s are variable; not all sufferers experience the same symptoms. However, so-called “classic Ménière’s” is considered to have the following four symptoms:
CLICK TO SEE THE POICTURE
*Periodic episodes of rotary vertigo or dizziness.

*Fluctuating, progressive, unilateral (in one ear) or bilateral (in both ears) hearing loss, usually in lower frequencies.

*Unilateral or bilateral tinnitus.

*A sensation of fullness or pressure in one or both ears.

Ménière’s often begins with one symptom, and gradually progresses. However, not all symptoms must be present for a doctor to make a diagnosis of the disease.  Several symptoms at once is more conclusive than different symptoms at separate times.

Attacks of rotational vertigo can be severe, incapacitating, and unpredictable and can last anywhere from minutes to hours,  but generally no longer than 24 hours. For some sufferers however, prolonged attacks can occur, lasting from several days to several weeks, often causing the sufferer to be severely incapacitated. This combines with an increase in volume of tinnitus and temporary, albeit significant, hearing loss. Hearing may improve after an attack, but often becomes progressively worse. Nausea, vomiting, and sweating sometimes accompany vertigo, but are symptoms of vertigo, and not of Ménière’s.

Some sufferers experience what are informally known as “drop attacks”—a sudden, severe attack of dizziness or vertigo that causes the sufferer, if not seated, to fall without warning. Drop attacks are likely to occur later in the disease, but can occur at any time.[10] Patients may also experience the feeling of being pushed or pulled. Some patients may find it impossible to get up for some time, until the attack passes or medication takes effect.

In addition to hearing loss, sounds can appear tinny or distorted, and patients can experience unusual sensitivity to noises.

Some sufferers also experience nystagmus, or uncontrollable rhythmical and jerky eye movements, usually in the horizontal plane, reflecting the essential role of non-visual balance in coordinating eye movements

Migraine:
There is an increased prevalence of migraine in patients with Ménière’s disease.  As well, migraine leads to a greater susceptibility of developing Ménière’s disease. The distinction between migraine-associated vertigo and Ménière’s is that migraine-associated vertigo may last for more than 24 hours

Causes:
Ménière’s disease is idiopathic, but it is believed to be linked to endolymphatic hydrops, an excess of fluid in the inner ear.

he inner ear is a cluster of connected passages and cavities called a labyrinth. The outside of the inner ear is made of bone (bony labyrinth). Inside is a soft structure of membrane (membranous labyrinth) that’s a slightly smaller, similarly shaped version of the bony labyrinth. The membranous labyrinth contains a fluid (endolymph) and is lined with hair-like sensors that respond to movement of the fluid.

In order for all of the sensors in the inner ear to function properly, the fluid needs to retain a certain volume, pressure and chemical composition. Factors that alter the properties of inner ear fluid may help cause Meniere’s disease. Scientists have proposed a number of potential causes or triggers, including:

*Improper fluid drainage, perhaps because of a blockage or anatomic abnormality

*Abnormal immune response

*Allergies

*Viral infection

*Genetic predisposition

*Head trauma

Because no single cause has been identified, it’s likely that Meniere’s disease is caused by a combination of factors.

Complications:
The unpredictable episodes of vertigo are usually the most debilitating problem of Meniere’s disease. The episodes often force a person to lie down for several hours and lose time from work or leisure activities, and they can cause emotional stress.

Vertigo can also increase your risk of:

*Falls

*Accidents while driving a car or operating heavy machinery

*Depression or anxiety in dealing with the disease

*Permanent hearing loss

Diagnosis:
Doctors establish a diagnosis with complaints and medical history. However, a detailed otolaryngological examination, audiometry and head MRI scan should be performed to exclude a vestibular schwannoma or superior canal dehiscence which would cause similar symptoms. There is no definitive test for Ménière’s, it is only diagnosed when all other causes have been ruled out. If any cause had been discovered, this would eliminate Ménière’s disease, as by its very definition,  as an exclusively idiopathic disease, it has no known causes.

Treatment:
Because Ménière’s cannot be cured, treatments focus more on addressing symptoms. In extreme cases, it is necessary to destroy vestibular hair cells with the antibiotic streptomycin or to remove the affected labyrinth surgically in order to relieve severe vertigo. Patients are sometimes treated by the insertion of a shunt that diverts excess endolymph directly to the cerebrospinal fluid, a procedure that is not always effective. Typical remedies to improve symptoms may include:

*Antihistamines considered antiemetics such as meclozine and dimenhydrinate

*Antiemetic drugs such as trimethobenzamide.

*Antivertigo/antianxiety drugs such as betahistine and diazepam.

*Herbal remedies such as ginger root

Coping:
Sufferers tend to have high stress and anxiety due to the unpredictable nature of the disease. Healthy ways to combat this stress can include aromatherapy, yoga, T’ai chi., and meditation.

Surgery:
If symptoms do not improve with typical treatment, more permanent surgery is considered.  Unfortunately, because the inner ear deals with both balance and hearing, few surgeries guarantee no hearing loss.

Nondestructive:
Nondestructive surgeries include those which do not actively remove any functionality, but rather aim to improve the way the ear works.

Intratympanic steroid treatments involve injecting steroids (commonly dexamethasone) into the middle ear in order to reduce inflammation and alter inner ear circulation.

Surgery to decompress the endolymphatic sac has shown to be effective for temporary relief from symptoms. Most patients see a decrease in vertigo occurrence, while their hearing may be unaffected. This treatment, however, does not address the long-term course of vertigo in Ménière’s disease.  Danish studies even link this surgery to a very strong placebo effect, and that very little difference occurred in a 9-year followup, but could not deny the efficacy of the treatment

Destructive
Destructive surgeries are irreversible, and involve removing entire functionality of most, if not all, of the affected ear.

The inner ear itself can be surgically removed via labyrinthectomy. Hearing is always completely lost in the affected ear with this operation. Alternatively, a chemical labyrinthectomy, in which a drug (such as gentamicin) that “kills” the vestibular apparatus is injected into the middle ear can accomplish the same results while retaining hearing.

Alternatively, surgeons can cut the nerve to the balance portion of the inner ear in a vestibular neurectomy. Hearing is often mostly preserved, however the surgery involves cutting open into the lining of the brain, and a hospital stay of a few days for monitoring would be required.

Vertigo (and the associated nausea and vomiting) typically accompany the recovery from destructive surgeries as the brain learns to compensate

Physiotherapy:
Physiotherapists also have a role in the management of Meniere’s disease. In vestibular rehabilitation, physiotherapists use interventions aimed at stabilizing gaze, reducing dizziness and increasing postural balance within the context of activities of daily living. After a vestibular assessment is conducted, the physiotherapist tailors the treatment plan to the needs of that specific patient.

The central nervous system (CNS) can be re-trained because of its plasticity, or alterability, as well as its repetitious pathways. During vestibular rehabilitation, physiotherapists take advantage of this characteristic of the CNS by provoking symptoms of dizziness or unsteadiness with head movements while allowing the visual, somatosensory and vestibular systems to interpret the information. This leads to a continuous decrease in symptoms.

Although a significant amount of research has been done regarding vestibular rehabilitation in other disorders, substantially less has been done specifically on Meniere’s disease. However, vestibular physiotherapy is currently accepted as part of best practices in the management of this condition

Prognosis:
Ménière’s disease usually starts confined to one ear, but it often extends to involve both ears over time. The number of patients who end up with bilaterial Ménière’s is debated, with ranges spanning from 17% to 75%.

Some Ménière’s disease sufferers, in severe cases, may end up losing their jobs, and will be on disability until the disease burns out.  However, a majority (60-80%) of sufferers will not need permanent disability and will recover with or without medical help.

Hearing loss usually fluctuates in the beginning stages and becomes more permanent in later stages, although hearing aids and cochlear implants can help remedy damage.  Tinnitus can be unpredictable, but patients usually get used to it over time.

Ménière’s disease, being unpredictable, has a variable prognosis. Attacks could come more frequently and more severely, less frequently and less severely, and anywhere in between.  However, Ménière’s is known to “burn out” when vestibular function has been destroyed to a stage where vertigo attacks cease.

Studies done on both right and left ear sufferers show that patients with their right ear affected tend to do significantly worse in cognitive performance.   General intelligence was not hindered, and it was concluded that declining performance was related to how long the patient had been suffering from the disease

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9ni%C3%A8re’s_disease
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menieres-disease/DS00535

http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/disorders/menieres/menieres.html

http://www.360balance.com/hydrops.html

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