By Yishane Lee
David S. Haynes, M.D., of Vanderbilt University, has been HHF’s medical director for the past couple of years, advising HHF on medical issues and serving on the Board of Directors and Council of Scientific Trustees. Dr. Haynes recently created HHF’s Council of Medical Trustees (CMT) as an expert panel of more than a dozen otologic and neurotologic physicians and surgeons that HHF can turn to for input regarding medically related issues, and provide comprehensive and up-to-date information about various hearing and balance diseases and conditions. The CMT builds on the long legacy of HHF’s Centurions, a group of medical doctors that had held a similar role.
In the Winter 2014 issue of Hearing Health, we are pleased to highlight the first of many articles about hearing and balance conditions in the magazine by members of the CMT. Dr. Haynes described Ménière’s disease, its definition, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, outlook, and current research areas.
Two centuries after it was first named, Ménière’s has been a challenge to accurately diagnose, since its symptoms of vertigo, hearing loss, and/or tinnitus can be seen in many other conditions. As Dr. Haynes writes, “Having an experienced doctor who understands the conditions that can present with similar symptoms is essential. Because of the challenges in accurately diagnosing Ménière’s, the diagnosis can sometimes occur by process of elimination.” Another challenge has been determining the cause, although treatments to manage the condition have met with varying degrees of success as well as become less invasive.
The article is in print as well as online.
Two 2013 HHF Emerging Research Grant scientists are also investigating Ménière’s disease.
Peihan Orestes, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, is testing the effect of gentamicin use on the contralateral (least affected) ear to stabilize vestibular function in patients with Ménière’s disease, and whether the contralateral ear can be retrained to help normalize vestibular function.
Ian Swinburne, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, is studying how the endolymphatic duct and sac stabilize the inner ear’s fluid environment in an effort to identify ways to restore or elevate this function to mitigate or cure Ménière’s disease.
Please have a look at our online dictionary of hearing terms and let us know in the comments below if you have specific areas you’d like us to address.