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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Ménière's disease


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Meniere disease
  • Meniere's disease
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What causes Ménière's disease?

The underlying cause of Ménière's disease remains unknown, although it probably results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.[1][2][3] Possible contributing factors that have been investigated include viral infections, trauma to the middle ear, middle ear infection (otitis media), head injury, a hereditary predisposition, syphilis, allergies, abnormal immune system responses, migraines and noise pollution.[1][3][2]

The symptoms of Ménière's disease have been thought to be related to changes in fluid volume in the inner ear, which contains structures necessary for normal hearing and balance. Changes in fluid volume may disrupt signals sent from the inner ear to the brain, or may lead to tears or ruptures of the membraneous structures that affect hearing and balance.[3][4] More recently, research has shown that excessive fluid retention (hydrops) is not always associated with Meniere's disease and may not be the ultimate cause of its symptoms.[4]

More detailed information about the causes of the symptoms associated with Ménière's disease are available on NIDCD's Web site and can be viewed here.

Last updated: 3/12/2013

  1. Ménière's disease . MedlinePlus. 2010; Accessed 2/9/2011.
  2. Timothy C. Hain. Meniere's Disease. American Hearing Research Foundation. 2008; Accessed 2/9/2011.
  3. Ménière disease. Genetics Home Reference. June 2010; Accessed 3/12/2013.
  4. Berlinger NT. Meniere's disease: new concepts, new treatments. Minn Med. November 2011; 94(11):33-36.