Non-Surgical Therapy for Meniere’s Disease Sufferers

Non-Surgical Therapy for Meniere’s Disease Sufferers

Editor: You may have read about the meniett several years ago when it was first introduced. It’s a treatment for Meniere’s Disease that seems to be effective for some people. Here’s the recent press release.


February 2007

Unique Device Bridges Treatment Gap Between Medication and Surgery for Individuals with Meniere’s Disease

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ — Overcome by sudden bouts of dizziness, a roaring or ringing sound in the ear, hearing loss and painful pressure in one or both ears, more than 2.6 million individuals in the U.S.and Europe suffer from Meniere’s Disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, an additional 45,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

At its worst, Meniere’s Disease can be debilitating, making routine daily tasks extremely difficult. “Every day my success was measured by whether I could make it through the workday [without having to go home],” explained Patricia Borrello-Monie, a medical social worker in New Orleans, La. “This became how I defined my productivity at work and my satisfaction with my life in general. I was totally non- functional at night. I would come home from work and just lie flat on the sofa to ease the dizziness sensation.”

Typically, a Meniere’s attack is characterized by a combination of vertigo, TINNITUS (ringing in the ear), and hearing loss lasting several hours. People experience these discomforts at varying frequencies, durations, and intensities and may notice a loss of hearing or feel unsteady for prolonged periods. Vertigo attacks, usually the most debilitating symptom of Meniere’s Disease, can strike patients with little or no warning and lead to severe nausea, vomiting and sweating. For some patients, the disease progresses from an occasional incidence to chronic symptoms.

For John Lecky, MD, professor of Anesthesia at the University of Washington Medical Center, Meniere’s threatened his ability to care for his patients. “Patient safety comes first,” he stated. “If you have a vertigo attack … you’re incapacitated. And like so many patients with Meniere’s Disease, I was constantly in fear of an attack I wouldn’t be able to control.” After several severe attacks in 2001, Dr. Lecky felt compelled to retire if his disease did not improve.

Both Borrello-Monie and Lecky found relief in a unique device that administers computer-controlled, low-pressure air pulses to the middle ear. “I’d have tried anything and was about ready to [undergo surgery to] have my vestibular nerve cut, but the theory of the device made sense to me,” stated Dr. Lecky, who was treated by otolaryngologist Dr. George Gates, professor and director of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Research Center at the University of Washington Medical Center.

Meniere’s Disease is associated with excess fluid in the hearing and balance canals of the inner ear. The low-pressure pulses of the Meniett device displace the excess inner ear fluid, normalizing the pressure within the ear and relieving the symptoms of the disease. The only device of its kind available in the U.S., it offers patients a way to manage the disease without undergoing more invasive surgeries.

Borrello-Monie noticed a significant improvement within days of using the device for the first time. “Five days later, I participated in a two-mile walking dog parade during Mardi Gras [Krewe of Barkus] … and did fine,” she recalled.

Diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease begins with a thorough physical exam and medical history interview. Hearing tests, including electrocochleography which records the electrical activity of the inner ear, help physicians confirm the condition. Because Meniere’s symptoms mimic several other disorders, additional procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and allergy and blood tests, are often done to rule out other possible causes.

There is no known cure, and front-line treatments include reducing the body’s retention of fluids through a low-sodium diet and avoidance of caffeine and alcohol. Medications such as steroids, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-vertigo, vasoactive, and the ototoxic antibiotic gentamycin are also used to combat symptoms. Prior to the ntroduction of the Meniett, which is available by prescription, surgery was the next step for patients with severe symptoms.

For more information visit and speak with your personal physician or ear specialist.