Tympanic membrane retraction or Meniere’s Disease?

This post was written by Mike on April 3, 2016
Posted Under: General Information on Meniere's Disease / Syndrome

Are your Meniere’s symptoms caused by tympanic membrane retraction?

I received this email recently from a Meniere’s Help reader asking were  his symptoms due to Tympanic membrane retraction or Meniere’s disease?

Hi Mike,

It’s nice to hear from you again, I hope you’re well.
Funnily enough, I was going to email you soon anyway with an update with my current health.
As I have mentioned before, this past year saw many of my old meniere’s-type symptoms return after a nearly three-year absence, and after taking on board the suggestions from your book, I began investigating the possible cause for these symptoms.
After several tests, it was discovered that I have an impacted eardrum, or Tympanic membrane retraction, in my right ear which is the cause for the inflammation in my middle ear and hence, symptoms similar to meniere’s. I’m booked in for surgery in two week’s time to have it corrected, which will hopefully sort everything out, as well as restore a good portion of my hearing for good measure. I’ll keep you updated on everything post surgery.

All the best,

Image of tympanic membrane retraction. This may be mistaken for  Meniere's Disease

Tympanic membrane retraction may cause some of the same symptoms as Meniere’s but not all.

Tympanic membrane retraction is described as a condition in which a part of the eardrum lies deeper within the ear than its normal position.

The eardrum is a flexible, very thin membrane which separates the middle ear from the outer ear. It is medically referred to as the tympanic membrane.

A retracted eardrum refers to a condition wherein the eardrum gets pulled or sucked into the area behind it. This occurs when the pressure in the middle ear area becomes very low. A retracted eardrum is mostly caused due to infections. However, a rapid change in the external air pressure can also lead to a sudden drop in the pressure within an individual’s ear, and possibly cause a retracted eardrum.

Symptoms are: hearing sensitivity, possibly tinnitus, ear pressure and ear pain, sometimes dizziness and even vertigo hence the confusion with Meniere’s Disease.

It has a completely different diagnosis to Meniere’s. The problem is in the middle ear as apposed to the inner ear with Meniere’s.

One of the biggest differences is the pain in the ear. Meniere’s sufferers do not usually have physical pain in the ear.

Retracted ear drums or Tympanic membranes are fairly common, especially in children but also adults.

If you suffer from pain in the ear and other Meniere’s type symptoms and especially if you suffered from and ear or sinus infection prior to your symptoms it may be worth being checked for this.

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Help other Meniere’s sufferers. Do you have experience with Meniere’s disease or Tympanic membrane retraction? Let us know in the comments below or email Mike at: meniereshelp@gmail.com

References/Further reading:


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