A significant change in your hearing health can be quite unsettling, especially if you aren't exposed to areas with hazardous noise levels that could cause this. If you are in otherwise good health, your hearing problems may be due to Meniere's disease. Meniere's disease is caused by an unbalanced flow of your inner ear's fluids. While this disease is frequent in those with allergies or autoimmune disorders, it can start affecting healthy people from young adulthood through senior years.
Do You have Other Symptoms as Well?
While a change in hearing may be the symptom you notice the most since it can affect your interactions with people, there are other things to watch out for.
Meniere's can cause
- tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in ears)
- vertigo and imbalance
- stomach queasiness
- pressure in your ears
- a feeling of fullness in your ears
These symptoms can affect just one of your ears or both. If you suspect that you may have this disorder, contact your family doctor or another professional that deals with hearing health conditions. He or she can give you a diagnosis and set you up with medications, like antihistamines or diuretics, that may help. Keep in mind, however, that you can sometimes manage this disease without medication.
How to Control Symptoms Without Medication
Look Into Hearing Aids
The Whirled Foundation's research has shown that hearing aids not only benefit Meniere's disease patients' hearing but their balance as well. The research also showed that people wearing their hearing aids had reduced their tinnitus. Since your hearing loss is likely affecting your work relationships and social life, hearing aids are something to look into.
Take Time for R&R
Some people have Meniere's flare-ups when they are stressed, so pampering yourself a little can help. As long as you are not in the midst of a flare-up, massages can be excellent at suppressing future symptoms. The increased circulation from the massage may help to reduce any fluid buildup in your ears.
Another way to decrease stress is to build your support network. If you are comfortable doing so, let your family, friends, and co-workers know about your symptoms so that you can take a minute or two time-out if you experience symptoms in a social setting. For instance, if your boss knows about your condition, you won't feel stressed if you need to sit in a quiet area of the office until vertigo passes.
Lastly, you may want to look into some mediation or yoga classes. Breathing exercises and stretching can help you lower your stress levels. In fact, yoga can help you strengthen the osseous labyrinth of your inner ear as you practice balance poses. If your symptoms are too severe for such poses, you can still find relief in sitting poses, like a half-spinal twist.
Watch Your Salt Intake
Because this disease causes a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, eating less sodium means you'll retain less fluid. Incorporating potassium-rich foods can help lower your sodium intake too since it can help to flush extra salt from your kidneys.
Many Americans eat more sodium a day than they should, so eating less sodium can be hard at first. You may want to use a free app, like My Fitness Pal, which breaks down your daily nutritional values. All you need to do is scan the barcode of wrapped food products, and the app will keep track of what you've eaten for the day. When you look at food labels, make sure you don't forget other terms for salt, like Na, sodium, and soda (e.g., baking soda).
If you follow these tips, you may be able to manage your symptoms without medication. If you are still having issues, contact a local doctor's office like Wakefield Hearing Center.