The Four Primary Meniere’s Disease Symptoms

4 Main Symptoms of Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s disease is a rare vestibular condition that affects over 600,000 people in the US alone. With tens of thousands being diagnosed each year, more people are becoming familiar with this debilitating syndrome. However, Meniere’s disease remains misunderstood by some. With that in mind, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the four primary Meniere’s disease symptoms. This will allow us to pinpoint a potential Meniere’s disease causes, and a natural way to relieve this underlying condition.

#1 Vertigo

Vertigo is a common symptom of many different conditions including BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), MS (multiple sclerosis), vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, and an acoustic neuroma. However, vertigo that due to Meniere’s disease presents in rather specific ways. Thus, it is an integral part of getting a Meniere’s disease diagnosis.

In order to diagnose Meniere’s disease, a doctor will ask about your history of vertigo. You must have had at least two vertigo attacks (although many patients experience vertigo on a regular basis). These attacks must last for at least 20 minutes at a time but no more than 24 hours. Shorter bouts of vertigo likely indicate positional vertigo. Whereas longer bouts of vertigo can signify things like a serious case of mal de debarquement, which occurs when a person experiences vertigo following a long boat or plane trip or an amusement park ride.

#2 Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a ringing or other sound that occurs in the ear when there is no external source of sound. Tinnitus is another common symptom and can be present in many different conditions. For example, if you go to a loud rock concert, you may notice a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears when you lay down to go to bed that night. However, tinnitus exhibits itself in particular ways when it has something to do with Meniere’s disease.

First of all, in almost all cases, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear. Second, tinnitus may vary from patient to patient and flareup to flareup of the condition. In fact, according to one study, about a third of Meniere’s patients experience mild tinnitus, one third experienced moderate tinnitus, and the other third experienced severe tinnitus. The interesting part of the study was that increased severity of tinnitus was associated with a higher risk of drop attacks (when a sudden bout of vertigo causes a fall). Therefore, severe tinnitus may cause a greater risk of falls due to Meniere’s disease episodes. Doctors also suggest that more severe tinnitus is due to a more advanced form of Meniere’s.

#3 Hearing Loss

Fluctuating hearing loss is commonly a sign of Meniere’s. Thus, a hearing test is an important step in getting a Meniere’s disease diagnosis. What are doctors looking for in such a test? As Meniere’s progresses, hearing loss becomes more substantial. In the earlier stages of Meniere’s, a patient will likely show hearing loss in only low-frequency tones. As the condition progresses, the highest-frequency tones are also lost. Therefore, a patient who shows sufficient hearing in the mid-range only is likely to have had Meniere’s longer.

Hearing loss due to Meniere’s can be due to surgeries that certain patients with severe or advanced cases of this syndrome have to go through. Some of these surgeries are destructive. Many of the surgeries have a success rate of as low as 70%. They can also leave up to 30% of patients deaf in the ear the surgery is performed on (although 15-20% of these patients may have already experienced hearing loss in the ear prior to surgery according to some research sources). Either way, the low success rate and high risk of permanent hearing damage turn most patients off to these extreme options.

#4 A Feeling of Fullness in the Affected Ear

Meniere’s disease patients can often identify the ear that is suffering from the condition most readily by the feeling of fullness in the ear that presents during an attack. This may be due to an overabundance of fluid in the ear which leads to the sudden onset of more severe symptoms. This excess of fluid is called endolymphatic hydrops. While researchers once thought this to be the primary Meniere’s disease cause, it is now acknowledged that the true cause is whatever is leading to the excess fluid and not the existence of the fluid itself. Some of these potential causes include:

  • Traumatic injuries to the head or neck
  • Viral infections
  • Allergies
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Migraines

Upper cervical chiropractic research into the benefits of gentle adjustment to correct misalignments (often caused by head or neck trauma) have proven promising. Let’s take a closer look at how the neck may reveal the underlying issue when it comes to Meniere’s disease.

Additional Symptoms that Patients Notice

Feeling nauseated

Feeling sick to your stomach and going as far as vomiting can happen while you are experiencing vertigo. When you are hit with a Meniere’s attack, vertigo can last for half an hour or as long as 24 hours. These attacks may seem short; however, the nausea and other symptoms can be very intense.


Diarrhea may occur during an attack when vertigo is also present. It may continue after the flare up has eased up. Staying hydrated at all times is very important because you do not know when Meniere’s will attack. Since you may also vomit, it is easy for you to become very dehydrated, leading to other health complications. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal discomfort may also happen.

Nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements)

These are jerky eye movements that occur in one or both eyes. They may go side to side, in a circular motion, or up and down. It just depends on the person and the attack.

Cold sweats

During an attack, if you are experiencing vertigo, nausea, and vomiting, you may also experience cold sweats. These are associated mainly with the symptom of vertigo.


Those who have Meniere’s have been seen to be more sensitive to exhaustion. Tiredness may play a role in making the condition flare up. So, this symptom can be part of a vicious cycle. Getting into a good sleep routine is vital for Meniere’s patients.

Mood swings

People have reported feeling changes in their mood during and in between episodes. You may feel anger, anxiety, irritability, and fear.


Severe headaches, specifically migraines, often go along with Meniere’s disease. It is theorized that migraines cause inner ear damage, thereby causing a flare up of Meniere’s. They seem to go hand in hand.

Case Study 1 – 139 Meniere’s Disease Patients

In our first case study, 139 patients who were medically diagnosed with Meniere’s disease sought upper cervical chiropractic care. The symptom of vertigo, in particular, was used to highlight the benefits of the study.

Before care commenced, the patients averaged a vertigo severity of 8.5 on a scale of 0 to 10. Scores were taken following 6 weeks of upper cervical adjustments and then again at 1 and 2 years. After just six weeks of care, the average vertigo severity had been reduced to 3.0. At the end of a year, it was down to 2.3. At the end of the two-year study, the average was a mere 1.4. In fact, all but 3 of the 139 patients had experienced these significant benefits (those 3 dropped out after the initial 6 weeks).

All 139 patients were suffering from an upper cervical misalignment. This helps to show the correlation between upper cervical misalignments and Meniere’s disease as well as the benefits of correcting the misalignment.

Case Study 2 – A Follow-Up Study Involving 300 Patients

Immediately following the first study, the upper cervical chiropractor began a 6-year study on 300 Meniere’s disease patients. This time the idea was to show that the upper cervical misalignment is what causes a Eustachian tube lesion and stops the ears from draining properly. As a result, the misalignment is the true underlying cause of the disease, and correcting it helps to relieve symptoms on a long-term basis. Once again, the study was an overwhelming success with 97% of the patients seeing a 90% improvement in vertigo.

Thus, if you are suffering from Meniere’s disease and are searching for drug-free relief, upper cervical chiropractic may be exactly what you are looking for. This is especially so if you have ever suffered a head or neck injury, even from a fender bender that may not have resulted in a whiplash diagnosis. Whiplash can occur at as little as 5 mph, and this seemingly insignificant injury can result in Meniere’s disease upwards of a decade following the accident. As a result, we encourage patients to see a practitioner in your local area to learn more about the benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic for Natural Relief

The top two bones in the neck protect the brainstem. Thus, a misalignment may affect brainstem function. These bones also help to facilitate blood flow to the brain. Again, even the slightest misalignment may affect this normal function. Perhaps most important, however, is the proximity of the C1 (atlas) to the ears. A misalignment here can create the right environment for a gradual decline in Eustachian tube function. As a result, patients who exhibit symptoms of Meniere’s often do so approximately 15 years after whiplash-type injuries.

Once the underlying misalignment is corrected, many patients report a significant decrease in the severity of symptoms, particularly vertigo and hearing loss. If you are suffering from Meniere’s disease and would prefer to try a natural alternative before a dangerous surgery, please contact an upper cervical chiropractor in your area. A consultation may be your first step down the path to recovering your quality of life.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.