When is tinnitus a symptom for Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s Disease and Tinnitus

Karin & David Henderson

Persistent tinnitus (ringing in the ears) sometimes accompanies hearing loss, but most of the time, it has its own cause(s). In Meniere’s Disease (balance and hearing symptoms) it is very persistent and very unpleasant. And because it is in the person’s ear, they cannot remove themselves from it: it always travels with them.

Tinnitus is a noise, ringing ears, or a roaring sound in the affected ear. It is very disturbing: sometimes it actually causes ear pain. Noise is measured in decibels. And people have told us that at higher decibels, it actually creates pain. It is certainly very uncomfortable.

We have heard many many people with Meniere’s disease describe tinnitus as sounding like the sound of escaping air, running water, being inside a seashell, a sizzling, musical, buzzing, or humming noise, ringing noises, blowing sounds, hissing, whistling, high or low pitched sounds, roaring, pulsating sounds, etc. some people can hear their heart beat. You might want to explore this term on the MedlinePlus site.

It is important to recognize that this sound comes from the inside of the ear. In this case, there is no sound happening outside. Only you, the Meniere’s disease sufferer, are hearing it. Tinnitus, in its mild form, is tolerable. We all have bits of it at times. In its loud, chronic form is very destructive and stressful. It can lead to increased depression and despair.

Tinnitus may well interfere with the ability to concentrate, to rest, or to sleep. Understandably it will frequently cause psychological distress. It is very important to remember that increased levels of stress and tension can also be a trigger for a Meniere’s disease attack.

If you have Meniere’s disease, there are two important things to remember here. One is that the person, the sufferer, is almost always exposed to two sounds;

  • One sound comes from inside, his own internal source.
  • The other sound comes from someone speaking to him (external source).

These sounds compete for attention and this can be most frustrating, irritating, and stressful! Neither sound will be clear. So once again the person is shut out of his social environment. It is important to recognize that one sound comes from the inside. That being the case: it is evident that the person can’t escape the sound. That has to be very depressing.

For the family, tinnitus, and Meniere’s disease, is also frustrating and can create feelings of guilt. They won’t hear the sound, but they live with the behavior of the person experiencing these sounds. It gets tiring to repeat everything. It is difficult to remember which side of the person to stand on so that they can hear. When they speak and realize they aren’t heard, both parties feel frustrated.

These are relatively minor things, but if the sufferer is already tired and depressed, anything less than a positive, loving interaction can create even more problems. The additional stress for the sufferer of having to live with Meniere’s disease everyday with your family can even trigger an attack.  We have a page that we wrote from our experiences as a family living with Meniere’s disease.

“Is there a tinnitus treatment?” is one of the questions we get asked on a regular basis

Are there ways of getting around the tinnitus symptoms? Many people are inclined to, or counseled to, use white noise. For some that works, for others it does not. I have spent years learning an amazing amount of information about tinnitus, dizzinesshearing loss and other Meniere’s disease symptoms!

I want to encourage you to keep on searching for the reason you have Meniere’s disease. Please don’t give up. There is a reason, an underlying cause(s) for this to be happening: you really need to find it. Absolutely nothing ever happens in our bodies without a cause. Yes, even tinnitus.

You might want to ask yourself why there is ringing in the ears. This noise is coming from deep inside the inner ear. You couldn’t get at it from the outside if you tried. But if this nerve was NOT bothered, it wouldn’t ring, right? So what is making it ring? In order to have it do anything, “something” has to come into its “world”. But because of its remoteness, that’s virtually impossible, UNLESS something IN your body is bothering or irritating it and causing / creating the tinnitus.

And what could be causing your tinnitus? It has to be something that can get into that area FROM inside your body.

It could be a virus, bacteria or chemicals. I’m sure there are other things as well, but I want to show you how to “think” this through. In a “quiet, undisturbed, and peaceful” nerve, nothing out of the ordinary is happening. There should be no unusual noise. Now along comes “something” that is causing the hearing nerve to result in noise or ear ringing. In other words something is now (not before) disturbing the “quiet and peace” of the inner ear and its nerve. Otherwise you wouldn’t be aware of an “intruder”. We take our health so much for granted that it is only when something really unpleasant, like Meniere’s disease, comes along, do we pay attention.

Here is what gets our attention. The body has a great alarm system called the “inflammatory process”. And this alarm system will try to overpower the intruder. It does this by bringing extra fluid to the area, which contains all sorts of good, desirable healing ingredients: the actual fluid to wash away the “problem” and special cells to eat it away.

One possible intruder could be a virus. If it is that, it should disappear after a while. There isn’t much to be done. If, after a period of time, the situation is unchanged, sometimes doctors will prescribe antibiotics. Next, it could be bacteria, resulting in an infection. Again, you could get an antibiotic but if it persists, you’ll know it’s not that.

How about chemicals? Did you know that many drugs (which are chemicals) have tinnitus as a side effect? Here is my favorite site for searching for this kind of drug information.http://www.rxlist.com That means this ringing in the ears may be produced by a chemical being released into your body. I am guessing it gravitates to the inner ear hearing/acoustic nerve. (It may also rest in another part of your body, but for now, we’ll stick to the inner ear.)

But what if you don’t take any drugs, how about other chemicals? You are surrounded by chemicals all day long. And frequently, you get them onto your skin, into your nasal passages, into your eyes, or through your mouth as you breathe and just “live”. These are all ways for it to enter your body. Often, and most likely, you choose to put them onto and into your body with sunscreens, cosmetics, drinks, etc.

I mentioned the inflammatory “fluid” before. How would fluid affect the hearing nerve to get the ringing in the ears? That could be a reaction of the nerve to the volume of the fluid.

I want you to picture a field of grass under water or a flood. This water is creating a lot of pressure per square inch. Just as inside your own body, the more water / fluid, the more pressure.

  • Do you think the pressure could block the nerve?
  • Or bother it to the point where it creates a sound by pressing down on the nerve?
  • And could this block or pressure distort the signals bound for the brain?

I would imagine it could. And could it also follow that more chemicals would create more pressure? You see, no one can look into your ear. So everyone is guessing what YOU feel and hear.

Your job now is to really pay attention to your body’s exposure to chemicals, unless you take any drugs. Then check those out first. Ask your pharmacist for help. Or go online and type in “drugs that cause tinnitus” into http://www.google.com . The results will surprise you! If you don’t take any drugs, check your blood pressure. Sometimes high blood pressure can be a trigger for Meniere’s disease.

High blood pressure is more fluid, and that equals more pressure, right? Explore all sorts of chemicals in your home. From air fresheners, bathroom and shower cleaners to things kept in the basement, garage, or attic. And check what you put on your lawn. Recently one lady finally discovered her daily, early morning, horrible tinnitus symptoms came from the specialty coffee she had first thing every morning. Let me encourage you to search diligently, but make decisions slowly.

I want to offer one last idea and it will sound waaaay out! But it’s real and I have people very frequently tell me they have this. And it’s a pain or weird sensation such as an unpleasant, unexplained noise when they use either their microwave oven or talk on their cell phones. That’s originally how we learned to ask about things like that. If you do have this annoyance, it will most likely be because you have a weakness in that ear.

A healthy normal ear would be able to manage that irritation.

  • Step No.1 is to seek ways of identifying the intruder. Monitor any sounds as to when they happen. Try to notice when it starts and when it seems to wane (hopefully it does).
  • Step No. 2 is to eliminate the possible causes of tinnitus (the reason for using the irritant) to the best of your ability.
  • Step No. 3 is to heal the nerve so it doesn’t react to such irritants. In other words, you are going to drain the field of water and restore peace and harmony to the nerve.

Your body will really appreciate your hard work. Know we can help heal our bodies given the right things to do.

By Karin Henderson – Nurse, Retired.

Additional Resources

Numerous people have gotten relief from the same system that David and others have been using.  If you would like to know more about the system we talk about on the site, please use this link to go to the Meniere’s Disease System Information page.

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