Allergic Reaction - Meniere’s Syndrome

The symptoms of the ear disorder called Meniere’s syndrome (or meniere disease) are: ringing in the ears (tinnitus); extreme sensitivity to loud sounds; gradual loss of hearing; headaches; and vertigo (a spinning sensation), sometimes accompanied by nausea.

Some attacks last only minutes, others continued hours. Episodes of Meniere's can occur frequently of several weeks apart. Strangely enough, the syndrome affects mostly men between age 40 and 60. in nine out ten cases, only one ear is affected, and it can lead to total deafness in that ear.

Meniere’s seem to result from fluid retention in the cochlea, the spiral shaped organ in the inner ear that helps control hearing. Doctors don't know exactly what causes Meniere's syndrome, but among many possibilities, allergy is one.

Meniere's resembles migraine headache in many ways, and seems to be triggered by some of the same foods (see also Migraine and Other Headaches). In other cases, Meniere's may be part of an allergic reaction to drugs, iodine, house dust or dog dander according to the late Albert H. Rowe, M.D., and Albert Rowe, Jr., M.D., (Food Allergy, Charles C. Thomas, 1972).

If allergy is in fact a contributing cause of Meniere’s syndrome, it's important not only to avoid allergy triggers but also to cut down on salt and high sodium foods. Sodium promotes water retention in all body tissues, including the inner ear, and aggravates Meniere’s syndrome.

Along with allergy, other possible causes of Meniere’s should be investigate: viral or bacterial infection, sinus infection, hardening of the arteries or anemia. Readers with Meniere’s syndrome may find it helpful to read the entries on Dizzy Spells and Tinnitus.