What is the long-term outlook for people with Ménière's disease?
The course of Ménière's disease can vary widely among affected people. The condition is often most bothersome during the early stages. During progression to later stages, vertigo spells often disappear. Acute attacks are typically replaced by constant imbalance and progressive hearing loss.
The long-term outlook (prognosis) for people with Ménière's disease also varies. Periods of remission punctuated by exacerbations of symptoms are typical. Some people have minimal symptoms, whereas others have severe attacks. Episodes may occur as infrequently as once or twice a year or they may occur on a regular basis. The pattern of exacerbation and remission makes evaluation of prognosis difficult. In general, the condition tends to spontaneously stabilize over time and it is said to "burn out.” The spontaneous remission rate is high with over 50% experiencing this within 2 years, and over 70% after 8 years. However, most people are left with poor balance and poor hearing. Those whose condition does not stabilize are generally well-managed with medications but surgical treatment is necessary in about 5-10% of cases.
Last updated: 12/21/2016
Does every individual with Ménière's disease have vertigo?
The diagnostic criteria for Ménière's disease proposed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery stipulate that a "definite" diagnosis of Ménière's disease requires the following:
Two spontaneous episodes of rotational vertigo lasting at least 20 minutes
Audiometric confirmation of sensorineural hearing loss
Tinnitus and/or a perception of aural fullness
Based on these widely-used diagnostic criteria, the condition is only diagnosed if vertigo is present; therefore, it likely follows that all affected individuals experience this symptom.
Last updated: 3/13/2013
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