Meniere’s Disease is a syndrome including fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss, episodic vertigo, ear fullness and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). It is caused by hydropic distention of the endolymphatic system (inner ear). It has a prevalence of 218 per 100,000 people in the United States. Meniere’s Disease is idiopathic. While it is not caused by allergies, in some patients an allergic reaction produced by a food and/or inhalant allergen may stimulate an inflammatory reaction resulting in the development of symptoms. It is known that the endolymphatic system is capable of processing antigen and mounting an allergic response. It is thought that the endolymphatic sac could be the target organ of the allergic reaction. The resulting inflammation could lead to the hydropic distention.
In a survey by Dr. Derebery, 41% of Meniere’s Disease patients have confirmed concurrent allergic disease. The general population averages for allergic disease is 14%. Dr. Derebery reported in 113 patients with Meniere’s Disease treated with allergy desensitization and diet (avoidance of foods that they are allergic to) had much improved symptoms of allergic disease and decreased frequency, severity and interference with daily activities in their Meniere’s Disease compared to a control group of 24 Meniere’s Disease allergic patients that were untreated.
Although no double blind placebo controlled studies exist, it is reasonable to test patients with Meniere’s Disease who have allergic symptoms or a history suggestive of allergies and to provide immunotherapy and food avoidance as indicated.
Reference: Derebery MJ and KI Berliner. Allergy and its relation to Meniere’s Disease. Otolaryngol Clin N Amer 2010;43:1047-1058. Derebery MJ. Allergic management of Me