Ménière’s disease is the third most common inner ear disorder. The individual course of Ménière’s disease in different patients makes it difficult to diagnose on the basis of symptomatology alone. The impact of Ménière’s disease on quality of life has highlighted the importance of an additional tool to support the diagnosis of Ménière’s disease. Apart from the patient’s history, audiological data provide the most relevant information for confirming the diagnosis. The aim of this study was to analyse and describe the clinical and audiological features of a cohort of subjects diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, in order to develop understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and to facilitate the diagnostic process. The research is based on a retrospective study of the medical records of 135 subjects with Ménière’s disease which were selected according to a non-probability sample. Descriptive statistics were used to organize, analyse and interpret the data. Sixty one percent of subjects presented with definite Ménière’s disease, 14 % with probable Ménière’s disease and 25 % with possible Ménière’s disease. The results showed a higher incidence of Ménière’s disease in females especially in the vestibular type. Three percent of subjects indicated a family history of Ménière’s disease. Bilateral Ménière’s disease presented in 39 % of subjects. The results confirmed that vertigo was the most debilitating symptom in Ménière’s disease. Correlating the clinical features of subjects with audiometric and vestibular tests highlighted the clinical value of an audiological test battery including the following tests: Pure tone audiometry, Speech discrimination, Oto-acoustic emissions, Electronystagmography and Electrocochleography. This confirms the role of the audiologist in the diagnostic and rehabilitation process in patients with Ménière’s disease.
Dissertation (Communication Pathology)--University of Pretoria, 2007.