Skip to content
Donate Now! Text VEST18 £4 to 70070. The text message is free and all of your donation will be passed to the Ménière’s Society.
Dr Glenys Osborne MB BS, Dip Pall Med.
Ménière's disease (MD) is a disease of the inner ear. The inner ear is composed of the organ of balance (semicircular canals) and the organ of hearing (the cochlea). Ménière's disease is a long term, progressive disease which damages both the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. The main symptoms of the disease are vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss.
It mainly affects white people. Its incidence is between 1 per 2000 and 1 per 20,000 of the population. It affects both sexes equally. It can occur at all ages, and most frequently starts between ages of 20 and 50 years. About 7-10 per cent have a family history of the disease.
Initially the disease usually affects one ear, but 15% of people have both ears affected at the start of symptoms. As the disease progresses, up to 50% will develop the disease in both ears.
The cause is unknown. Many factors are probably involved in the development of the disease. The relationships between these factors and the progression of the disease remain unclear. The factors that may be involved are: