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Health & Diving
Ears & Diving

Ears & Diving

Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder involving recurring episodes of vertigo, which may be associated with vomiting, fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and a sensation of increased pressure in the ear.


Description

This chronic condition affects the inner ear. It results in vertigo and hearing dysfunction. A disabling episode of vertigo may involve severe nausea and vomiting. In addition, Meniere's disease can muffle or impair hearing. Individuals may also experience a sensation of increased pressure in the ear. Migraine headaches have also been linked to this condition.

Management

Treatment focuses on symptom management. Medications are used to control the vertigo and associated nausea and vomiting. Diuretics are sometimes used to help regulate the excess volume of endolymph (fluid contained in the inner ear) that is associated with Meniere's disease.

An ENT physician consultation is recommended as surgical procedures may help achieve relief. For a referral in your area, email medic@dan.org, or call the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948.

Fitness to Dive

This condition is variable. It may spontaneously resolve or progress to involve the other ear. If you are at risk of experiencing disabling symptoms such as vertigo, disorientation, nausea or vomiting, you should not dive; should these symptoms occur underwater, they may lead to panic, choking and even drowning. In addition, these symptoms may be confused with dive-related injuries such as inner-ear barotrauma or inner-ear decompression sickness.

Further Reading

More Questions? Ask a DAN Medic