The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture

| September 23, 2012 | 0 Comments | 93 views

What Is The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture? How Is The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture Treated? How Does The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture Develop? Who Gets The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture? What Causes The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture? What Things Can Make The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture Worse?

Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture

By Keith Foley-Chell B.App.Sc. (Acupuncture), Cert.Adv.Ac. (Guangzhou)


The structure and function of the inner ear is defined and the disorder known asMeniére's Disease is described from the point of view of Western medicine and TraditionalChinese medicine. These perspectives are compared, with the aim of findingrationalizations of the two theoretical viewpoints. Using a single case study of a femalepatient the of validity of the medical examination and Traditional Chinese examination arediscussed. Changes to her condition are described, listed and charted. Conclusions aredrawn with reference to both strengths and weaknesses of the findings, and suggestions aremade regarding further appropriate research.


In the condition known as Meniére's Disease, the fluid volume in the semicircular canalsis increased, leading to elevated pressure. Typically, this causes attacks of dizziness(or vertigo), creating a feeling of violent spinning or rotation, whirling and falling.This is usually the most disabling and distressing symptom of Meniére's Disease.

During these attacks of dizziness in the early stages of the disorder, hearing in thelow ranges usually deteriorates and returns to normal or near normal after an attack.While the frequency and duration of attacks vary between individuals, these episodesusually re-occur over a few years. Once the disease is established however, hearing lossmay fail to recover fully after an attack. In the later stages of the disease, hearingloss is relatively constant and irreversible, and affects hearing in all ranges.

Another distressing symptom which often manifests from Meniére's Disease is tinnitus.This ringing in the ears will not be noticed during the attacks and by the later stagesmay become constant. Nausea, vomiting and sensation of fullness or pressure in theaffected ear are commonly experienced.

The pattern and incidence of the symptoms may vary from case to case, but the generalindications are the same, vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, sensation of pressure in the ear andprogressive deafness in the affected ear, often leading to permanent hearing disability ortotal hearing loss, usually unilaterally.

This disorder is quite common, occurring in approximately one in a thousand of thepopulation. It is equally common in both sexes, and most commonly occurs in the age rangeof 30 to 60 years, with 65% of cases occurring before the age of 50. In the majority ofcases (about 85%) only one ear is affected, however the longer the condition lasts themore chance there is that the other ear will also become affected (Victorian Deaf Society,1992).

One of the important points about Meniére's Disease is that medically, there is verylittle knowledge of it's aetiology. It is believed that there may either be anoverproduction or underabsorbtion of endolymph in the cochlear duct. However, it is stillnot clear what factors lead to this condition. Medical therapy available for thiscondition is limited. In many cases sufferers are advised to be patient and wait forspontaneous recovery (which does occur in many cases).

In contrast, the aetiology of Meniére's according to traditional Chinese medicine isvery clear. In theory at least, it can offer an effective acupuncture treatment programfor the disorder.

The Treatment of Meniére's Disease by Acupuncture

Meniére's Disease is believed to result from the dilation of the lymphatic channels inthe cochlea. The usual symptoms are tinnitus, heightened sensitivity to loud sounds,progressive loss of hearing, headache and vertigo. In the acute stage there may be severenausea with vomiting, profuse sweating, disabling dizziness and nystagmus. Frequency ofattacks is highly variable and the disease usually lasts a few years, with progressiveloss of hearing in the affected ear (Miller & Keane, 1983, p.686).

Meniére's Syndrome ... is characterized by an increased amount of endolymph that enlarges the labyrinth. Among the symptoms are fluctuating hearing loss, attacks of vertigo, and roaring tinnitus. Etiology of Meniére's Syndrome is unknown. It is now thought that there is either an overproduction or underabsorbtion of endolymph in the cochlear duct. The hearing loss is caused by distortions in the basilar membrane of the cochlea (Tortora et al, 1990, p.491).

Meniére's Syndrome is essentially a disease of medically unknown origin. It ischaracterised by a variety of symptoms, all related to inner ear dysfunction, and seems toentail a retention of endolymph in the affected ear. There is also no known hereditarylink in the onset of Meniére's Disease.

The syndrome of recurrent paroxysmal vertigo with associated feeling of fullness in the ear, tinnitus, and depression of hearing on a background of progressive hearing loss, and depression of labyrinthine function has been shown to be due to an intermittent elevation of endolymphatic pressure. When this occurs idiopathically, this is known as Meniére's Disease (Ell, 1991, p.30,32).

While no actual medical cause is known, several factors have been linked with Meniére'sDisease.

  • Tension and Anxiety can lead to attack.
  • A high salt intake (probably due to increased fluid retention).
  • Some women have attacks pre-menstrually which are associated with fluid retention.
  • There is a direct link with migraine in 30% of recorded cases.
  • Head injury severe enough to cause a concussion.
  • Syphilis.
  • Glandular or hormonal imbalance (including hypothyroidism).
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Allergies.
  • Common factors such as chocolate, smoking, alcohol, dairy products and wheat.
  • High doses of aspirin (from 14 to 16 tablets per day) can cause ringing in the ears. This type of tinnitus is reversible, simply by withdrawing the intake of aspirin.
  • (Victorian Deaf Society, 1991, p.2).

Medical treatments utilised include diet, medication and surgery.

Dietary measures involve reducing cholesterol, reducing fluid intake, stoppingalcohol, and eliminating added salt from the diet. This reduction in salt intake is mostimportant, as salt increases fluid retention. Stopping coffee and cigarettes is alsoimportant because they constrict the blood vessels (Victorian Deaf Society, 1991, p.2).

Drug therapy centres around vasodilation to increase cochlear and labyrinthine bloodflow, diuretics to remove water from the body with the aim of decreasing the supposedelevated intralabyrinthine fluid pressure, symptomatic antivertiginous antihistamines, andpsychotherapeutic drugs to offset attacks which may be precipitated autonomically (Avery,1980, p.354).

Some clinicians have used diuretics alone, while others prefer to combine a saltrestricted diet with a diuretic. These therapies are aimed at reducing intralabyrinthinepressure.

Endolymphatic hydrops can be treated with the combination of a sodium depleting diuretic and a low salt diet. Acute attacks may respond to 20 to 30 g of urea taken and dissolved freshly in water. This causes a rapid osmotic shift which can acutely lower endolymphatic pressure (Ell, 1991, p.30).

At present, 5% of people suffering from Meniére's Disease require surgery of the innerear. With each operation, hearing is at risk and the symptoms of vertigo and tinnitus mayactually worsen rather than improve.

Conservative surgery is mainly designed to control vertigo but, in some cases, alsoseeks to improve hearing. The patient should have useful hearing in the non-operable earas loss of hearing may be a caused to the ear (which is subject to surgery). Conservativesurgery usually involves decompression and drainage of the fluid system in the balancemechanism, often using a drainage shunt to relieve the pressure in the inner ear. Theseoperations require considerable skill and are not always successful (Victorian DeafSociety, 1991, p.3).

Destructive surgery is designed to destroy the inner ear completely. Vertigo isusually relieved and tinnitus sometimes relieved, but the procedure obviously entailscomplete and permanent hearing loss from the affected ear. For this reason, destructivesurgery will only be employed when there is severe hearing loss in the affected ear anduseable hearing in the other ear (Victorian Deaf Society, 1991, p.3).

The eventual outcome of Meniére's Disease is unpredictable. In many cases thesymptoms spontaneously disappear, in others however, "... the natural course ofMeniére's Syndrome may stretch out over a period of years, with the end result beingalmost total destruction of hearing" (Tortora et al, 1990, p.491).

Tags: , ,

Category: Acupuncture Treatment

About the Author (Author Profile)

Holle everybody welcome to the My name is Mo, I hope discuss about acupuncture with everybody! Hope you can find what you want in my website.If you have questions , please click here --Our A&Q system.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.