Causes of Ménière’s disease

The exact cause of Mnire's disease isn't clear, although it's thought to be caused by a problem with thepressure in the inner ear.

The inner ear is made up of:

  • the cochlea a coiled, spiral tube that contains two fluid-filled chambers and is responsible for hearing
  • the vestibular apparatus a complex set of tubes that help to control balance

The fluid inside the inner ear is called endolymph.

If the pressure of the endolymph fluid changes for example, because there is too much fluid it can result in symptoms such as Vertigo and tinnitus .

It's thought that this pressure change is responsible for Mnire's disease, although it hasn't been proven.


Although the exact cause ofMnire's disease is unknown, the following factors may increase the risk of developing the condition:

  • autoimmunity when your immune system attacks your own tissues and organs by mistake
  • genetic (inherited) factors for example, if you have a family history of the condition
  • a chemical imbalance in the fluid in your inner ear as a result of too little or too much sodium or potassium in your body
  • a problem with the blood vessels there's a link between Mnire's disease and migraines , which are thought to be caused by the narrowing and widening of blood vessels
  • some viral infections such as meningitis

Vertigo is the sensation that you or the environment around you is moving or spinning.

Tinnitus is the medical name for the perception of noise in one ear, both ears or in the head. The noise comes from inside the body rather than an outside source.

Allergy is the term used to describe an adverse (bad) reaction that the body has to a particular substance.

Immune system
The immune system is the body's defence system, which helps protect it from disease, bacteria and viruses.

Genetic is a term that refers to genes. Genes are the characteristics inherited from a family member.

Blood vessels
Blood vessels are the tubes in which blood travels to and from parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are veins, arteries and capillaries.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 5 Jan 2017