Ear Hydrops is a disorder of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is the result of abnormal fluctuations in the endolymph fluid that fills the hearing and balance structures of the inner ear. Due to this fluid buildup, the endolymphatic space becomes distended.
The condition can be referred to as cochlear or endolymphatic hydrops and is diagnosed as either primary or secondary.
Primary hydrops is an idiopathic condition, meaning the cause of it is unknown and happens for no apparent reason. People diagnosed with Ménière’s disease often have endolymphatic hydrops; however, not all people diagnosed with hydrops have Ménière’s disease.
Secondary hydrops happens as a result of an event such as head trauma, allergy, or an underlying condition (autoimmune and systemic inflammatory disorders).
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Fluctuating hearing loss
- Fullness and pressure in the ear
Treatment is aimed to reduce the frequency and intensity of symptoms, manage acute attacks, prevent damage to hearing and balance, and maintain quality of life.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
- Stay hydrated at all times
- Eat a balanced diet (lower salt and sugar intake)
- Medication (for dizziness, nausea, and vomiting)
- Vestibular rehabilitation
- Steroid injections (antibiotic gentamicin or corticosteroid methylprednisolone)
Vestibular rehabilitation, also called balance retraining, involves carefully practicing movements that make the person dizzy. Over time, the brain learns to cope with these movements and balance improves. In addition, lifestyle changes and stress-reduction techniques can help reduce symptoms.