Spinning and dizziness can make it difficult or even impossible to do many types of jobs. For instance, someone who has a job as a forklift driver in a warehouse might not be able to do their job because their dizziness causes a safety issue. In instances like this, it’s important to find the financial benefits that are necessary to pay bills. SSDI insurance benefits are one way that people can pay their bills until they’re able to go back to work. People who have Meniere’s disease or think that they have it should learn all they can about it so that they can have the best opportunity possible to make a successful claim.
What is Meniere’s Disease?
As a disorder of the inner ear, which is responsible for both hearing and sense of balance, Meniere’s disease can cause a variety of complications, such as dizziness and even hearing loss. More often than not, Meniere’s disease will only affect one ear.
The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but symptoms of the disease seem to be caused by a buildup of fluid in the Eustachian tubes of the inner ear. More than likely, there are a combination of factors that contribute to this disorder. Some of these potential factors include blockage because of an anatomical abnormality, a viral infection, allergies, genetic predispositions, and a dysfunctional immune response.
While Meniere’s disease is chronic, with early treatment and changes in lifestyle, symptoms can subside after a few years. Also, people with Meniere’s disease typically have episodes, and there can be periods of time where the person with the disease doesn’t experience any symptoms.
Both men and women can get Meniere’s disease at any age, but it most often occurs in people who are between the ages of 40 and 60, and women are statistically more likely to get it than men. Meniere’s disease is fairly uncommon, with about 615,000 people in the U.S. who have the disorder.
It can be somewhat difficult to diagnose because the symptoms aren’t completely uniform across every patient and because there are other inner ear disorders that produce similar symptoms. There’s also no standardized test that can definitely diagnose the disorder.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
One of the most common symptoms of this disorder is a feeling of vertigo, which is caused by the fluid buildup. Episodes of the feeling of spinning can last for 20 minutes or even up to 24 hours. Typically, vertigo comes on suddenly and can cause a variety of other symptoms.
Hearing loss is also a common symptom. The hearing loss usually comes and goes when a person first starts feeling vertigo and other related symptoms. Eventually, hearing loss can be permanent, but people can also avoid this consequence if they seek early treatment.
Tinnitus, which is the experience of sounds when there isn’t external stimulus creating the sounds, is another common symptom. Some of the most common sounds that people hear when they have tinnitus is ringing, whistling, buzzing, hissing, and roaring. These sounds will come and go with each episode, usually occurring when there’s an episode of vertigo.
Many people with Meniere’s disease will also have a feeling a fullness in the affected ear. Pressure is another common feeling that people experience because of the buildup of fluid in the ear.
Because Meniere’s disease causes feelings of vertigo and because it comes on so suddenly, tiredness and stress are common symptoms. These symptoms can also lead to anxiety and depression when they go untreated for long enough. The vertigo can also cause nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
Treatments for Meniere’s Disease
Since there isn’t a single known cause of Meniere’s disease, there also isn’t a known cure. But there are ways that some of the symptoms can be alleviated. To help lessen the feelings of vertigo, a doctor can prescribe motion sickness medications. Some of the most common ones are meclizine and diazepam. These types of drugs can reduce the spinning sensations and the urge to vomit.
Otherwise, a doctor might simply prescribe an anti-nausea medications can further control nausea when a person is having an episode of vertigo that makes them feel nauseous.
There are also diuretics that can reduce the fluid retention in the ear, and a doctor might also tell the patient to limit their salt intake. While these treatments can’t cure Meniere’s disease, they can often reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms.
Vestibular rehabilitation is another treatment that can help restore equilibrium. And although it’s a fairly new type of treatment, positive pressure therapy has been shown to be effective in some studies but not in all. In this treatment, pressure is applied to the middle ear with a Meniatte pulse generator at home. The pressure is meant to reduce the fluid buildup.
If a non-invasive treatment is ineffective, surgery might be an option. To help with drainage and decrease the amount of fluid that’s produced, a surgeon can perform an endolymphatic sac procedure.
Finally, if treatment didn’t prevent hearing loss or the patient didn’t seek treatment soon enough, some people might need to use a hearing aid to restore function.
Disability Benefits for Meniere’s Disease
Because Meniere’s disease is so difficult to define and diagnose, there isn’t a specific SSDI Blue Book listing that can be used to determine whether or not a person will be qualified for disability benefits. There are, however, a few ways that a person can qualify for benefits if the symptoms are severe enough.
One of the qualifications to be considered for disability benefits for Meniere’s disease is that the person has Meniere’s disease or is expected to have the condition for at least 12 consecutive months.
People applying for benefits must also have episodes of vertigo that are ongoing, loss of hearing, tinnitus, and poor functioning in the vestibular pathway.
For people who don’t meet these requirements, there’s another way to receive benefits. Applicants can still meet the requirements to receive SSDI benefits by applying under the residual functioning capacity test. This assessment is designed to determine whether or not the applicant’s symptoms impair them enough to make it impossible to work.
In the residual functional capacity assessment, the list of impairments that the applicant has will be compared with the types of jobs that they’ve held in the past to determine whether or not there is work that the applicant is qualified to do.
Whenever someone is applying for SSDI benefits, they should keep detailed records of the number of episodes that they have, the severity of each episode, and the exact symptoms that they experience. Keeping records of how it impedes on the applicant’s ability to do their job and other everyday activities can be helpful. They should also make sure that their doctor is keeping updated records.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Meniere’s Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.