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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

Distinguishing Between Meniere’s and Migraines

Dizziness and vertigo are problems that afflict many people worldwide. In fact, dizziness is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits in people over the age of 65. There are many potential causes for dizziness, but in the over 65 population, inner ear issues are the most common. In our clinic, we specialize in diagnosing inner ear problems and helping our patients get the appropriate treatment.

spinnin-head-graphicA recent article in The Hearing Journal (volume 68, Number 4, p 44) discussed two potential causes of dizziness and vertigo: Migraines and Meniere’s Disease. The article, titled “Migraine: Making the Vestibulocochlear Connection” was authored by Dr. Dennis Colucci. Both Migraine Associated Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease cause spontaneous recurrent vertigo (or sudden episodes of vertigo that repeat periodically). Meniere’s Disease is a condition caused by a fluctuation of fluids in the inner ear. It is characterized by a sudden loss of hearing in one ear accompanied by a sense of fullness and a roaring sound in that ear. Following these symptoms, the patient will experience severe vertigo lasting minutes to days in duration. The fullness, roaring sound, and hearing loss will also subside over time. Eventually, a permanent low frequency hearing loss will develop in the affected ear.

Migraine Associated Vertigo is thought to be caused by vascular changes in the inner ear. It can also result in temporary hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and vertigo. Some forms of migraine associated vertigo may also be caused by cerebellar or brainstem issues. Usually the onset of symptoms begins with strange mood or body sensations followed by the dizziness/vertigo. About half of these patients will then develop a headache, but in many individuals no headache ever develops. Commonly, these patients will also describe sensitivity to light and sound.

At Hearing & Balance Doctors, we use state-of-the art equipment to help differentiate between various types of vertigo. Equally as important, our doctors spend a great deal of time taking a thorough case history with each patient in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis. We love to help our patients feel better, and a correct diagnosis is the first step in the recovery process

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