​Meniere’s Disease


Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of severe dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear. You may also experience hearing loss, which may progress further, ultimately leading to permanent hearing loss. In most cases of Meniere’s disease, only one ear is affected but both ears can also be affected.

Episodes of vertigo may be sudden or occur after brief symptoms of ringing in the ear or muffled hearing. The attacks can be closer together over a number of days, or you may have episodes occurring after longer periods of time. In some cases, Meniere’s disease can advance to the extent that you may lose your balance and fall (called drop attacks).

There is no definite cause of Meniere’s disease, though people with allergies and autoimmune disorders are more prone to getting affected by this disease. It is also popularly believed that it occurs due to fluid build-up in the compartments of the inner ear, called the labyrinth – the part of the ear responsible for balance. When membranous labyrinth produces excess fluid, it flows into other areas of the ear, causing damage as membranes inside the ear stretch and other tissues in the inner ear become swollen. Injury to the head, viral infections and genetics may also play a role in causing this disease.

Meniere’s disease is more common in the older population, affecting mostly adults aged between 40 and 60 years. It can occur at a younger age too. It is considered a chronic condition, meaning that it affects you over the long term. However, the right treatment provides relief from symptoms and helps you manage them to enable you to lead your life normally.

As Meniere’s disease affects the inner ear responsible for both hearing and balance, symptoms will show problems with these, with two to three symptoms occurring at the same time. Some of the symptoms you may face include:

  • Feeling of fullness in the affected ear.

  • Sensation of dizziness (vertigo) that recurs frequently.

  • Ringing in the affected ear (tinnitus).

  • Hearing loss.

  • Loss of balance.

  • Headaches.

  • Nausea and vomiting caused due to vertigo.

You can manage these symptoms with the help of a specialized treatment plan designed for you. Talk to our team of expert ENT (Eye-Nose-Throat) specialists to discuss your symptoms and get expert medical advice.

Symptoms of Meniere’s disease are similar to those from other disorders of the ears. Therefore, it’s important that correct diagnosis is made so that the right treatment method can be promptly started.

If you encounter any of the symptoms of Meniere’s disease discussed above that interfere with your normal activities, you must seek immediate professional advice. At The Aga Khan University Hospital, the only internationally accredited hospital of Pakistan, internationally accredited doctors have been specially trained to diagnose and treat ENT disorders, including Meniere’s disease. Discuss your concerns and queries openly with your doctor to facilitate a through treatment plan to provide relief from your symptoms.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Because there is no definitive test to check for Meniere’s disease and because the symptoms overlap with those of other disorders, your doctor will make diagnosis based on multiple steps. The first step is to take your medical history, whereby your symptoms will be assessed based on the information provided by you. The doctor will suspect the presence of Meniere’s disease if there have been recurring spells of vertigo, each lasting for 20 minutes or more, accompanied with hearing loss and buzzing or feeling of fullness in the ear.

Further hearing tests are conducted to assess the extent of hearing loss. Tests to check your balance may also be conducted with the help of special diagnostic instruments. The doctor also might request MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT (Computed Tomography) scans of the brain to rule out the possibility of other disorders which could be causing the symptoms. 

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers multidisciplinary healthcare under one roof for all patients, with the latest diagnostic technology to help reach the correct diagnosis for your symptoms.

There is no definite cure for Meniere’s disease, which is a long-term disorder. However, your doctor will prescribe some medications and lifestyle changes to help you manage your symptoms better. Some of these include:

  • Prescription medicines or injections to help shorten your episodes of dizziness and control it.

  • Restricting the use of salt so that fluid-retention can be controlled, especially in the ear.

  • Cutting out alcohol, caffeine and smoking from your life if use of these aggravates your symptoms.

  • Hearing aids to help improve your sense of hearing.

Surgery may be advised in cases where other treatment options have not been successful in providing relief from your symptoms. Discuss your treatment options and the pros and cons of surgery and other treatment methods in detail with your doctor before implementing them.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.