Author Topic: Meniers Diesease  (Read 7339 times)

ktdiveloco

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Meniers Diesease
« on: July 21, 2008, 22:24:32 UTC »
My sister has recently lost her hearing in one ear; has various unpleasant pitches that she can hear in that hear, otherwise, nothing else.  The doctor has suggested Meniers Diesease, although she doesn't have the vertigo, thankfully.  There is nothing about the problem that diving can make worse.  Her doctor is concerned that she might do something during diving to screw up the other ear.

Does anyone have any experience with this or information about it that might be helpful.  we are heading to Bonaire for two weeks in August and she is trying to make an informed decision about what to do.  She has discussed this with DAN - they are reluctant to give advice either way, just list the possibilities.

Thanks for any input you might have! 
KT

Senor Whiskers

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Re: Meniers Diesease
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 00:10:30 UTC »
I have the same condition - unilateral hearing loss (right side), no one knows why or how.  I have had every test, CT, MRI and things I cannot pronounce.  Basically, the docs have no idea, and just mention Miniere's as a possibility.  I also have never had vertigo thank gawd.

The loss of hearing in her "good" ear would be life changing, so this becomes a personal decision.  Here is what DAN has to say:

"Q: I have a hearing loss in one ear. Is it safe for me to dive? 
 
A: Although not common, it is possible for a diver to suffer a significant hearing loss in an ear from a diving accident. This is an individual decision for each diver to make, assisted by advice from your physician. Generally, if the original hearing loss is severe and loss of hearing in the remaining ear would make the person deaf, then my advice would be not to dive. This advice is particularly true if you tend to have difficulty equalizing regularly.

Most physicians are very conservative, even diving doctors. Severe hearing loss in both ears is a great handicap and should be avoided, if possible. "

It is indeed a very tough choice.  The risk is quite remote, but the consequences would be devastating.  So you do your own research and assess your (her) appetite for risk.  I cannot imagine any very good doc who would give any assurance that "this will all be OK", so it is a personal choice.

As for me, I an in Cozumel right now, could not dive today due to Dolly, but tomorrow awaits.  So I made my choice.  If she is OK with the remote risk, then I hope you and she will be willing to terminate a dive immediately if she has the least bit of trouble equalizing.  It just ain't worth it.
 

ktdiveloco

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Re: Meniers Diesease
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 02:54:17 UTC »
Thanks!!  I will forward your reply on to my sister.  I am sorry that you too, are suffering with this hearing loss in one of your ears. 

I think that I would dive also ... yet I really don't know since I'm not in that situation.  As you said, it is a personal decision that can only be made by the one dealing with the problem.

I am encouraged that you are still diving and think my sister will be too.  However, should she choose not to dive, the whole family will support that decision.  Should she choose to dive, I'll be close at hand if she feels she needs to abort a dive!

I'm looking forward to hearing how the diving in Cozumel is after Dolly continues on her merry way.  Take care and have fun!
KT

DocV

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Re: Meniers Diesease (sic)
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 11:35:13 UTC »
Hi ktdiveloco,

Sorry for the delay in responding, but was I research diving with finback, humpback and mixed sharks off MA for the past 10 days.

As regards Meniere's Disease, to the best of my knowledge it is the consensus of diving medicine experts that a bona fide diagnosis of Meniere's is an absolute contraindication to SCUBA. The unpredictable and without warning attacks of vertigo that occur with the disease simply pose too great a risk.

But, it is not at all clear that the correct diagnosis here is Meniere's as this condition almost always involves some combination of episodic, fluctuating hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus and a sensation of fullness within the ear. When unilateral hearing loss is the sole sign or symptom, this diagnosis would not typically be applied.

Given that the diver experiences no vertigo, confusion or other symptoms worrisome for SCUBA, and the treating speSPAM -- ignoret has concluded that there "... is nothing about the problem that diving can make worse," diving would not be absolutely contraindicated. 

However,  there still are very important issues to be considered. These would include, but are not limited to, the inability to hear auditory alarms made by one's dive buddy, computer or the boat, and the possibility of damage to hearing in the still functioning ear. This latter concern is the reason why many ear speSPAM -- ignorets discourage diving following unilateral hearing impairment.

The decision to dive is one to be made by the individual involved after careful discussion with an ENT and consideration of the risks involved to both the diver and his companions.

Helpful?

Regards,

DocVikingo

This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual, and should not be construed as such.


Senor Whiskers

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Re: Meniers Diesease
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 15:10:30 UTC »
Thanks much.

I have never had vertigo, but I know some folks with Meniers who are practically disabled with nausea and vertigo, and no pharmaceuticals seem to have much of an impact.  Tinnitus yes, but that is nothing new.  I think Meniers was just mentioned as a possibility, but it is something that cannot be proven so it was pretty much one of many alternatives.  My doc said it might be caused by a microscopic accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, so I took diuretics for a few years - not in an effort to regain any hearing in the damaged ear, but on the guess that it might keep the condition from develping in my good ear.  There were no side effects from that except for questions in insurance physicals about why I was taking a diuretic.  :)

The most likely candidate for me is nerve damage since everything organic (acoustic neuroma etc.) was ruled out.  How that could have been unilateral is another mystery.

Not to bore you with details, but I shot trap for a living for about five years, so I have been very close to about 1 million shots at clays, birds, and targets.  All with hearing protection.  So that could be the cause, but it seemed unlikely because the hearing loss is unilateral, and was not simply high frequency loss as would have been expected..  I played in a rock band for a decade, could have been that, but that does not explain the unilateral nature either.  I have dived (NASDS instructor) for over 30 years, could have been that but I have never had any known trauma and have no trouble clearing.  Likely most revealing, I had all sorts of ear infections from swimming while growing up, that is more likely than anything else, but I had no known hearing loss till I was about 35.

Or could be bad genes or bad luck.  It is all a puzzlement.

I absolutely agree that vertigo/nausea would be a complete contraindication to diving.  Without those symptoms, it just becomes a personal matter.  Again, the risk of trauma to my good ear is remote, but the consequences would be life changing.  I imagine never being able to listen to music again.  What would I do without my Ipod?  :<)

I do appreciate your insight, your response was obviously not based on speculation or inexperience.

ktdiveloco

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Re: Meniers Diesease
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 15:59:49 UTC »
Thanks to both Dov V and Senor Whiskers for their responses. 

Doc V - absolutely helpful!!  I knew you'd know the scoop on the details of the disease.  It seems like in both my sisters case, and Senor Whiskers case, the doctors don't know what it is and this is the closest known condition.  I believe if it truly was MD, then her doctors would tell her absolutely not, rather than focusing on the concerns for the other ear.

At this point, I don't know what decision she will make ... I'll keep you both posted.  We will be in Bonaire from Aug. 1 to 16.  Hey, if she doesn't dive, at least she has the Olympics to keep her company!!  Thanks!
KT

 

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