Your Second Imperative in Overcoming Meniere’s Disease: Get the Correct Diagnosis

Your number two imperative is to make sure you are diagnosed correctly.  If in doubt, get a second opinion or a third if needed. Applying cures to disease X when you are really suffering from disease Y does you no good. Make sure you really do have Meniere’s disease before you go further down this path. In the book The Empowered Patient, Elizabeth Cohen states that the number of all misdiagnosed patients is between ten and 15 percent. We make mistakes every day. Why would we think that doctors never do?

There are many diseases with the same symptoms as Meniere’s disease that it is quite easy to misdiagnose. Also, remember that the symptoms of Meniere’s disease can be erratic. You can have severe symptoms one day and seem perfectly fine the next. It is hard for anyone to troubleshoot a disease that is such a moving target.

You should go through all the tests necessary to properly diagnose Meniere’s disease. You cannot self-diagnose Meniere’s. Proper diagnosis of Meniere’s disease requires a physical examination by your ENT and a number of very specialized tests. Your doctor may have you evaluated with a number of the following tests:

  • Audiogram: This tests your overall hearing for different volumes and tones. You may also be tested for word clarity. This test requires that you repeat words as you hear them. Throughout your audiogram, white noise may be pumped into one ear while the other is being tested.
  • Electronystagmogram: This test records and measures your eye movements during different situations, e.g., when you are at rest, moving your head from left to right and up and down, and while water of different temperatures is introduced into your ear canal.
  • Various balance tests: These include the classic drunk driver test where you walk a straight line with the heel of one foot touching the toe of the other. This test may be done with your eyes closed.
  • Rotational test: This one is my all-time favorites. You are spun around in a chair and then checked for dizziness, vertigo and rapid eye movements.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): This test measures the speed of electrical impulses along your acoustic nerve from your inner ear to your brain.
  • Electrocohleography (ECochG or ECoG): This is a test that measures the electrical potentials generated in your inner ear in response to sound stimulation. When I did this test, all sound consisted of a series of short clicks.
  • Imaging: You may be asked to get an MRI or CT scan to help in your diagnosis and to rule out a tumor or other problems.

 

 

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