Sound Therapy and Meniere’s/Vertigo
Meniere’s disease, a combination of vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus, may be one of the most debilitating conditions a person can suffer from. Sudden dizzy attacks, often severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting, come unexpectedly and can incapacitate the sufferer for weeks at a time. Sound Therapy has brought welcome and lasting relief to many Meniere’s sufferers, and has been able to restore normal living to those who previously lived in horror of the unpredictable sense of spinning out of control which could be triggered by lifts, staircases, heights, and large gatherings.
Living with Meniere’s
In 1861 Dr Prosper Meniere, who was in charge of the Imperial Institute for Deaf Mutes in Paris , identified and described the condition now known as Meniere’s Disease. His description was this:
“A man, young and robust, suddenly without reason, experienced vertigo, nausea and vomiting. He had a state of inexpressible anguish and prostration. The face was pale and bathed in sweat as if about to faint. Often, and at the same time, the patient, after seeming to stagger in a dazed state, fell on the ground unable to get up. Lying on his back he could not open his eyes without his environment becoming a whirlpool. The smallest movements of the head worsened the feeling of vertigo and nausea.”
Not everyone experiences this extreme form of Meniere’s, but it is characterised by sudden and recurrent attacks. It is usually accompanied by tinnitus, low frequency hearing loss and a feeling of pressure in the affected ear. It is often associated also with sensitivity to loud sounds.
Although there are other forms of vertigo, true Meniere’s is caused by an increase in pressure on the fluids in the inner ear. Sound Therapy is quite effective in the treatment of this condition. See How does Sound Therapy help Meniere’s?
Meniere’s is caused by problems in the vestibular system, causing balance disorders as well as hearing loss, so by energising and stimulating the system, Sound Therapy usually gets good results with Meniere’s disease.
This also helps in the area of hearing loss, though in the case of Meniere’s disease what bothers people most is the loss of balance. For balance disorders Sound Therapy is quite effective. When the balance issue is resolved, people are generally not so concerned with the tinnitus or hearing.
Tomatis had a unique theory on how Sound Therapy helps to alleviate Meniere’s Syndrome. He believed that the excess pressure in the vestibular system (the semicircular canals) is caused by spasms or twitches in the stirrup muscle. The stirrup muscle is one of the middle ear muscles and its role is to regulate the pressure on the inner ear fluid. The footplate of the stirrup presses on the oval window, the membrane which separates the middle ear from the inner ear chamber. Therefore when the stirrup muscle goes into spasm, there is a sudden change in the pressure in the inner ear fluid, causing a disturbance like a sudden storm to pass through the semi-circular canals. This communicates to the brain via the vestibular branch of the auditory nerve, that there is sudden movement of the head, which gives the patient the feeling that the world is spinning or falling away beneath them. Tomatis explains that once the stirrup muscle has been rehabilitated with the regular exercise provided by the Sound Therapy program, it no longer goes into spasm and the Meniere’s attacks do not recur.
To learn more about how Sound Therapy could help Meniere’s disease, request one of our Free Reports.