Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm freaking out a little. I think I have Meniere's Disease. It's an inner ear disorder, I guess. It's marked by a feeling of fullness in the ear, a loud low buzzing (like tinnitus) with hearing loss, and dizziness/vertigo. And there's no cure, per se, though there are things that can calm it. I have been getting episodes of this about once a year (or less) ever since I used a hand-held metal grinder with no ear protection in college, because Mt. Holyoke had none. I should have sued those fuckers. I was deaf with tinnitus in my right ear for a week, though it slowly improved. I think that was the triggering event that created this disorder.

I've never barfed from the dizziness, and in fact it's usually been the kind of almost-pleasant floaty sensation one gets when one is battling a high fever. But the past two days have been pretty crappy. My hearing is almost back to normal but I've been feeling more nauseous. Not good. I hate rushing to the doctor just because my ear "feels funny" (see: an awesome Roz Chast cartoon about hypochondriacs) but this seems like a real and definable thing.


Anonymous said...

Have you been researching online? Cut that out!

As one who has experienced episodes of severe vertigo (vertical spins in the middle of Times Square--so not fun) and had all kinds of MRIs and CAT scans and blood tests and unpleasant neurological exams and hearing tests because of it, I'll tell you, no one ever explained to my satisfaction just what was going on. Finally, I realized that I seemed to always have these attacks at the same time of the year (late August to late September), and I chalked them up to allergies. And since then, I've had a few mild vertigo attacks, but nothing severe. Not freaking out seemed to help more than anything else.

and thus endeth my two cents.


debl said...

Thank you my dear. Yes, I did the bad bad thing of looking up my symptoms online. Bad. I also told my mother about this and she said she has basically the same thing, and that she was sure it wasn't that disease I mentioned. She treats it with a prescription antihistimine nasal spray (backing up your idea that allergies are a factor, though I'm asymptomatic in all other ways) and occasionally an anti-vertigo medicine, though I've heard those can suck ass. I might be fine with just the spray and some Bonine. I hope.

She also says she's done the exercises outlined on this page and they have helped:

In past occurances I've been able to link the onset of the weird ear feeling to a specific event such as blowing my nose too hard or something. This time, it seemed to be the big barometric pressure change on Saturday. But that also could have triggered allergies. So I don't know what the hell it is.

av said...

I think you should try to find a holistic doctor in your area. Western doctors never know what's going on and they just help you mask symptoms. Something is causing this and there's probably a way to heal it homeopathically. Look that up online. If you can find homeopathic medicines for hearing loss or ear pain or whatever search words you use on a homepathy page, isolate the name of the homeopathic remedy, then look for more detailed info on that. There are always strangely specific, seemingly minor other symptons that the remedy is also good for, and you may find a match based on that. One time my holistic doc asked me if my eyelids itched. I said yes, and it helped him narrow down the remedy for me.