A Few Words...

What is written here is my opinion and personal experience only. I am not qualified to give advice - medical, legal, or otherwise. Please be responsible and do your own research regarding treatments, diets, doctors, and alternative therapies.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meniere's Disease and Quality of Life Study

This study was published 13 years ago, coincidentally, by my local neurotologist, Jeffrey Harris.  Next time you're wondering if having Meniere's disease is really as bad as it feels, you can turn to this small study for some validation.  Fortunately, my own quality of life is pretty good right now but it hasn't always been this way and I expect someday it may take a nosedive again.  On top of everything else, Meniere's is an unpredictable disease, sometimes misleading you to believe you might just have beaten it.  I don't know whether this is a blessing or a curse.  Anyway here's the study:

Released: 5/13/2000 12:00 AM EDT 
Embargo expired: 5/12/2000 12:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Otological Society (AOS)
Release: May 12, 2000 
Contact: Kenneth Satterfield, 407-238-4161 (as of 5/12/2000)

Meniere's Disease Leads to a Significant Decline in
Quality of Life for Patients with Disorder

A University of California-San Diego study highlights disease's impact on physical and mental health
Orlando, FL -- Meniere's disease is a chronic illness that often affects individuals in the prime of life. Many believe the disorder has a serious impact on the psychosocial status of individuals and their families. For the first time, a new study quantifies health-related quality of life status of patients with Meniere's disease who have failed conventional medical therapy and are candidates for further intervention and compares their status with other medical disorders described in a similar fashion.
Early studies suggested that there was a psychosomatic component in the etiology of this disorder. Now, it is generally accepted that the psychological aspects of the illness are in fact the consequence of the disease itself. A number of studies have shown Meniere's disease is associated with anxiety, depression and inability to concentrate.

The authors of the study, "Impact of Meniere's Disease on Quality of Life," are Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD, from the Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, and John P. Anderson, PhD, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at the University of California-San Diego. Their findings were presented before the American Otologic Society, meeting May 13-15, in Orlando, FL.

Methodology: Nineteen patients (12 female, seven male, age 32 to 83 yrs); all had been diagnosed with Meniere's disease that had been resistant to medical therapy; the baseline interviews on the subjects were performed by trained interviewers prior to any medical intervention.

Three instruments were used in the study:

Quality of Well-being Scale (QWB): A quantitative general health measure that allows for comparison of all diseases or conditions. It permits an analysis of programs, policies and treatments for the specified diseases and conditions, and allows calculation of Quality-Adjusted Life Years gained or lost by affected individuals. Patients are asked about their experience and dysfunction for each of the past six consecutive days. They are asked to define their symptom/problem complex - (headache, dizziness, ringing in ears), using criteria such as mobility scale-e.g. limitations in travel, physical activity scale-e.g. in bed, and social activity scale- e.g. working, housework.

Medical Outcomes Study SF-12: Widely employed general health status measure. This research tool rates physical and mental status by asking how often or how troublesome described situations are either during the past week or ongoing.

Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D): This is a widely used measure of psychological depression. Generally, 20 items rated on a scale of 0-3 over the past week: zero (best) to 60 (worst). Scores 16 or above indicate clinically significant depression).

Results: The study revealed the following:

-- QWB scores: Meniere's patients achieved a mean score of .505 on days of acute episodes and .620 on days without acute episodes. This compares with scores of normal adults (.810), very ill adults with life-threatening illness (cancer, AIDS (.616), non-institutionalized Alzheimer's patients (.506), and AIDS & cancer patients, six days before death (.427). This indicates that Meniere's patients lost 43.9% from optimum well-being or .439 quality adjusted life years lost for each year in their QWB state. This score reflects major impairment in mobility, physical activity, social activity and clear thought processes.

-- CES-D scores: Meniere's patients registered a mean CES-D score of 23 (significant depression 16 and above). This compares with trauma patients (CES-D 20), cochlear implant candidates (CES-D 15), patients with post-cochlear implantation (CES- D 12).

-- SF-12 scores: Meniere's patients recorded scores SF-12 physical- 38.9 (mean 50, + 10) and SF-12 mental- 44.2 ( mean 50, + 10). Meniere's disease patients are among the most severely impaired non-hospitalized patients studied thus far. These patients exhibit even more impairment on days with acute episodes. Patients describe impairment in travel, ambulation, work and other major social roles as well as trouble learning, remembering and thinking clearly. They are clinically depressed as a group.

Conclusions: The degree of impairment and depression which stems from this condition becomes the responsibility of treating physicians to develop and offer treatment options to their Meniere's patients. The authors call on the medical community and fellow specialists to not condone a nihilistic approach to treatment, stress to primary care colleagues that this condition requires treatment, and seek out effective treatment strategies for this debilitating illness.


  1. I'm sooooo printing this off and taking it to my ENT at the end of the month. At my last visit he practically ignored everything I was saying and just said it was stress causing the attacks and if this was the case he couldn't keep me off work! He clearly can't understand just how sick this makes you!!!
    Thanks for the info,
    Deb :)

  2. In that case, you MUST find a new doctor. You need an neurOTOlogist. I know it can be a challenge getting appointments in the Canadian system, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait to see someone who appreciates how serious this is.

    I don't visit menieres.org very often anymore, but if you go there and post a question about finding a doc in your area, you're pretty likely to find someone who knows one who specializes in Meniere's. You don't have to suffer.