My Meniere’s Surgery, One Year Later

After my surgery, with Jordi.

Exactly one year ago, Pam and I were at a surgical center in Carmel, Ind., on the north side of Indianapolis. I had surgery to place (brace yourself) an endolymphatic shunt behind my left ear.  The day after tax season ended for Pam, we got it done. The shunt would alleviate the vertigo symptoms of Meniere’s Disease, which I’d been battling since 2004. Now, when pressure builds up in my ear, a precursor to vertigo, fluid—in this case, only a couple drops, from what I understand—is channeled into the shunt.

Dr. Jerry House, an Indianapolis specialist, performed the surgery. I had been going to a well-regarded specialist in Fort Wayne, but he just kept prescribing more and more pills to take, and wouldn’t agree that I definitely had Meniere’s (which had been diagnosed several years before). I finally left his office with yet another prescription which I never filled.

I learned about Dr. House through my family doctor, and set up an appointment. He’s been around this block many times. After hearing my story and running me through a hearing test, he said, “You have Meniere’s Disease. Here are some things we can do for it.” He then presented the various surgical options, starting with the endolymphatic shunt, which was the least invasive and had a high success rate (90% after the first year, 70% after three years). Even though Dr. House is 90 miles away, Pam and I agree that switching to him was the best thing we could have done.

Because Meniere’s is such an erratic thing—it can go away for months at a time—I figured I wouldn’t have a good handle on how the shunt was working until the end of the year or later. So now it’s been a whole year. My evaluation?

It’s been a big, big help. I very rarely experience vertigo, and when I do, it is much less severe than before. I felt the shunt really starting to work around June. Sometimes I could sense a battle of sorts occurring in my head, with the shunt winning. My body would tell me, “You’re heading for a bad episode in a couple hours.” But it would never materialize.

I entered a period where it seemed like Meniere’s was pretty much gone from my life. Then, in July, I had acute pancreatitis, followed by the removal of my gall bladder. In early August I began experiencing some vertigo, and by the end of September it had gotten pretty bad, with vomiting episodes on consecutive days. I went to see Dr. House. He told me that acute pancreatitis messes up lots of body systems. He was surprised I didn’t have vertigo symptoms during my hospital stay. He said to just give it more time, and my body would get back in balance.

And that’s exactly what happened. Within a couple weeks, I was feeling great. Pam and I went on vacation, and I had no symptoms, and very few since then. From October to March, I was pretty much Meniere’s-free.

Ironically, as this anniversary occurs, I’ve been dealing with some vertigo issues. Two weeks ago, I had two nausea and vomiting episodes, which I just have to sleep off. But I hadn’t experienced that since September.

I’ve also had about 4 episodes of what is called a “nystagmus,” which is a brief attack where the eyes jerk back and forth quickly. I’ve had a few other episodes of nystagmus since September, usually traceable to a salty meal or too much intense work at the computer.

Vision is seriously impaired, but it lasts only 20 seconds or so. But the feeling of vertigo—of imbalance and unsteadiness—is minimized. So it’s nothing severe, nothing I can’t live with. But it’s there, a feeling in my head that things aren’t in balance. I’ve been carefully watching my intake of salt and caffeine.

I know it’ll eventually go away. Meniere’s cycles in and out like that. Dr. House told me, the only predictable thing about Meniere’s is that it’s unpredictable. As I write, it’s been a week since the last nystagmus (which occurred as I was waking up last Sunday morning). In a couple weeks, I’ll probably feel normal.

So again—my evaluation of the endolymphatic shunt surgery?

It’s been a huge help to me, and I have zero regrets about undergoing the surgery. I experience a small fraction of the vertigo I experienced before, and when I do, it is minimized, not nearly as severe. I still need to watch the usual Meniere’s triggers—salt, caffeine, and stress (the fourth trigger, alcohol, is a non-issue with this lifelong abstainer). I get to feeling so good that I sometimes get cocky, indulging a bit in salt and caffeine intake—and for the most part, I’ve gotten away with it. But a smart person, which I can be on occasion, would engage in moderation ALL of the time.


My various posts about the surgery:

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61 Comments to My Meniere’s Surgery, One Year Later

  1. Justin

    Steve, congratulations on your success with the shunt! That’s really great, and really exciting to hear how well it has turned out for you. I have Meniere’s too, have had it for about 10 years, and have been through all of the testing, attempts to abstain from all salt, caffein, stress and alcohol etc. What led me across your blog was my looking for success rates of endolymphatic shunts, especially with the feeling of fullness in the ears, tinnitus, and hearing loss associated with Meniere’s. Can you comment on those aspects, and if they were changed, for better or for worse, or at all, with your surgery. My fullness is a constant along with very intense tinnitus and mild to moderate low tones hearing loss. Would you recommend this surgery for alleviation of these symptoms as well as the vertigo? Any advise would be really appreciated. Thanks, Steve, and congrats again! Sincerely, Justin

    • Marilyn B.

      I had the same surgery in November 1995. ALL of my symptoms went away. My hearing came back, no more vertigo, no more ear pressure, no more tinnitus. Last month, my hearing loss and ear pressure returned so I imagine it is about time to replace the shunt. The doctor told me it would eventually get stopped up – maybe as soon as 5 years but could last longer. So 17 years seems impressive to me.

  2. Mary

    Steve, I came across your story while looking for an Indianapolis doc who KNOWS Meniere’s. Sounds like Dr. House may be the one. I have had Meniere’s for about 5 years. The first two years I just experience an annual attack in late October, early November, those first two attacks just consisted of tinnitus, the unusual roaring in my ear that was really annoying. The next year things started to get worse; the normal attack then would transfer into extreme vertigo, immediately followed by vomiting. That’s how it’s been, although it seems the attacks are coming more frequently. Now, I’m feeling more fullness in that side around my ear and I have a headache that will last sometimes 3-4 days of the symptoms. Last night I had the worst attack that I’ve had in a year. I feel fine today with the exception of tiredness (from wretching until 3am). It’s so odd how my hearing will be fine the day after the peak. My question is with Dr. House, did he immediately want to do surgery or does he have other methods that he tries first. Although I was diagnosed (or partially diagnosed) by an ENT here in Indy 3 years ago, (and I think he used the word “probably” before the diagnosis) I’ve been receiving two meds from my PCP for dizziness and nausea, so I think after this last month and last night I need to see someone who KNOWS.

    • Steve

      Mary:

      Your experience sounds a lot like mine. I went probably a couple years with just a lot of unsteadiness, and I didn’t know what was going on (did I have a brain tumor of some kind, perhaps?). Then the extreme nausea and vomiting hit, and I started getting tests, which led to the Meniere’s diagnosis.

      I don’t really recall my journey in terms of hearing. But I live with tinnitus, as I was told I would. It’s fairly low level, but if I don’t watch my sodium intake, it’ll get louder. I’ve not had the bad headaches you mention.

      You mention that an ENT said you “probably” had Meniere’s. Doesn’t surprise me. There are a number of conditions that are similar, so it’s hard to diagnose. I read that the only thing predictable about Meniere’s is that it’s unpredictable. However, I got tired of continual new medications from my doc in Fort Wayne and started looking for someone new. Which led me to Dr. House.

      In my case, Dr. House had me do a hearing test (in his office). Having heard my experience with other doctors, he cut right to the chase: you have Meniere’s, and here are the surgical options available to you. (Beyond watching the triggers–sodium, caffeine, stress, alcohol–there’s no real treatment.) He didn’t pressure me in any way. I think he gave me some ideas for continuing without surgery.

      But finally, about 13 months later, I had a bad attack while out of the country, and I knew I needed the stop putting off the surgery. I set up another appointment with him, and things moved quickly.

      I can’t speak highly enough of Dr. House. He’s very personable, very knowledgeable, doesn’t beat around the bush, and he’s been doing this stuff for many years.

      The surgery was performed in Carmel at a wonderful facility. He always does surgery on Friday. As I’ve written, the surgery has greatly changed my life for the better.

      I think you need to see Dr. House. Sounds like that episode last night was pretty bad.

      Steve

      • Veronica Morua

        Steve,
        How are you doing now ? Shunt continuing to help manage vertigo ?

  3. SUSAN

    Hi – Thanks so much for your info. I am having my shunt surgery on May 7th after dealing with Meniere’s since I was in my 20’s. My Meniere’s was under control, and then I was in a car accident a little over a year ago and got a severe concussion which awoken my Meniere’s and I now have no other choice. Glad to had read your post. Makes me feel more positive that this is the right step to take. Hope you are still doing well. Thanks, Susan

  4. Tobi

    Hi! I also had the surgery in March of this year. I lost total hearing out of my left ear right after surgery, which made my balance system feel like I was a bobble head for 6 weeks. I also get the nystagmus. I can deal with that. I can now say it is May and I am starting to feel like my old self again, minus the hearing loss. I miss listening to music in stereo, and the constant hiss I have in my left ear are annoying, but I have not suffered any more severe vertigo attacks. I was experiencing them before the surgery almost every week. I hated the anxiety of waiting for them to come, and when they would hit me at work no body understood. I was taken by ambulance the first 2 times they happened to the hospital. The wretching was the worst part, I could not keep down any of the meds long enough to ease my vertigo. Even though I lost my hearing, I am glad I had the surgery, I would rather deal with the deafness than the vertigo any day!

    Tobi

    I would say that my life is somewhat

  5. Michele

    I had the shunt surgery about 4 yrs ago after 3-4 yrs of the WORST vertigo attacks ever. They would come on without warning at work, home, night, day, and I would start to feel funny and walk like I was drunk, and eventually start throwing up so much that it would last for 6-8 hours. It was awful!! I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went to my regular dr, who referred me to an ENT, who recognized what my symptoms were and referred me to one of the top specialists here in Portland. After a few test and trial and errors with diaretics, anti nausea meds, xanax, and episodes occuring at least 5-10 times a month and causing me all kinds of problems at work and home, we decided on the shunt surgery. It seemed to work after the first month I noticed a considerable difference in occurances, and then it went to hardly any at all. Now I have them maybe once every few months, and they are very mild compared to before. However, I now have SEVERE pain in the shunt area causing me constant headache/migraines that are so severe I have days when I can hardly stand it. My doctor says it is my nerves in my neck, but I think it coming from the nerves around the shunt. Has anyone heard of anything like this? I can’t find any info on the internet. Any help would be great.

    Michele

  6. Scott Vess

    I just had the surgery on May 17th.My vertigo was getting more frequent and severe! Only a few days later,but all I have is mild dizziness sometimes.I feel pretty good so far except for pain and itching.I hope people do not read the horror stories and elect not to have the surgery.Good luck to you and anyone else who has suffered from this disease!

  7. Steve

    Scott: Thanks for writing. I always enjoy hearing other people’s experiences with the shunt surgery and Meniere’s in general. Everybody’s story is a little different.

    I agree about hoping people don’t hear the horror stories and decide not to get the surgery. It’s the least invasive surgery and has a high success rate. It’s certainly the first thing people should try.

  8. Scott Vess

    It has been a one week now.I still have dizziness but can function well.I drove by myself 4 days later and yesterday (Thursday).While I am driving there is no dizziness,only when I stop,but not severe enough to pull over.I do not know why it seems to stop while I’m driving but it is true! Thank you for writing back! I will let you know of future progress! Scott Vess

  9. Dan

    I am scheduled for bilateral shunt surgery June 6th. I have constant disequilibrium due to Meniere’s diagnosed 4.5 years ago. Hearing loss has progressed some and tinnitus is constant in both ears. I have never experienced the rotational vertigo and nausea, but there is always a drunkenheaded feeling and difficult holding a steady gaze with my eyes. I am hoping the dizziness and visual symptoms will improve along with stabilization of hearing loss. I am cautiously optimistic, knowing that not everyone has the best outcome.

  10. Dan

    This comment is for Michele. I did see a research article, but can’t remember where about a shunt that had migrated toward the facial nerve and had to be removed due to severe pain in that area. This may be what you are experiencing.

  11. Steve

    Dan:

    I hope things go well with the surgery. I don’t know if “bilateral shunt” is the same thing as “endolymphatic shunt,” but I’ll assume it’s the same surgery. Actually, since you have tinnitus in both ears, perhaps you’re having a shunt on both sides (which explains “bilateral”).

    Anyway, I understand the symptoms. The rotational vertigo, nystagmus, didn’t hit me until several years after I’d been diagnosed with Menieres. Until then, it was the drunkenheaded feeling you mention. I never had trouble keeping a steady gaze.

    I’d be optimistic about the surgery making a positive difference.

  12. Dan

    Just wanted to post an update on my procedure. I went through a week of plugged ears with impaired hearing that came back on the 7th day. My vision has been good at time with minimal difficulty focusing my eyes. In the past two weeks, I have used valium twice for anxiety. I have had some sensations of disequilibrium, no ear pressure and minimal tinnitus. So far at 4 weeks, symptoms are improving. I am pleased with my decision to have the shunts placed. I will post an update a month from now.

  13. Regina

    Hello

    Looking for anyone who has experienced chronic and oftentimes severe disequilibrium. Post endolymphatic shunt surgery. Had surgery in 1991 after head injury. Very difficult time since then and can no longer drive. Has anyone ever had their shunt reoved? Please help!

  14. Ronley

    Hey Steve glad to hear about your success, I suspect I probably have Meniere Disease as well, I live in Guyana, but i’m am considering visiting the US to check out the doctor that did our shunt surgery. I am scheduled to visit my local ENT doctor her in Guyana later this week i’m going to hear what he says then, i’m going to way my options. Thanks for your blog.

  15. Jeffrey

    for about a decade i’ve suffered…started with once or twice a year…extreme dizziness/spinning, nausea…never had headaches though, and once in a while some mild ringing in my ear…it’s my right ear…Dr. angelli in Miami…supposed to be a true specialist in this field of meniere’s…i’ve had 2 steroid shots in the ear, (i’m a diabetic), and am meeting him tomorrow so he can give me the pro’s and cons of the shunt versus the Gentmicin shots….as my meniere’s are now a weekly occurrence…i was bed ridden 3 hours on thursday, and the wednesday night a week before…I’d Happpily give up some hearing so i don’t have the spinning…I’ve been taken off antivert and now it’s just 10 or 20mg of valium IF there’s an attack…
    any advice about the low-dose gentamicin shots instead of the surgery?
    thank you,
    jeffrey in west palm beach
    jayrrrrrrr@aol.com

    • Michele

      Dear Jeff… I also see Dr. Angielli and it seems that I may headed for the surgery as well.
      What do you think about him? I have to so many Dr.’s in our area looking for a different approach … this condition is the pits. If you have had the surgery – did you fully recover ? and what about hearing lost in that ear? I’m reading above that most likely the shunt will need to be replaced??? Did Dr. Angelli do the procedure in Miami… i appreciate any information that you can give me.

      Thank you again

  16. spitfire

    You are very blessed. I had this surgery and I have regretted the choice. I had a piece of skull bone puncture the dura of my brain and I suffered a spinal fluid leak , bleeding and an infection after surgery. About one year after the surgery I began to have seizures. I am told that it was from the scar tissue that most likely developed after the dural puncture. The seizures have been a nightmare.

    I do not think the surgery is a good thing, so it is good to hear a happy story.

  17. LeftEar

    Hello-

    I had my endolyphatic shunt surgery on my left ear just 4 days ago on 1.30.13. I so far feel relief with my vertigo symptoms, however, I’m experiencing the mos intense ringing and roaring I’ve had in years in that left ear. Is this a normal symptom post surgery?

    Thank you –
    J

    • Alice Sue Teague

      J, I don’t know if it’s normal after surgery to have ringing in your affected ear but I can only speak for myself that has been my experience for nearly 23 years since surgery. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a remedy for it. Although it’s not fun, it sure beats the extreme vertigo problems. Eventually, you get adjusted to it & don’t notice it as much.

  18. Alice Sue Teague

    In August of 2000 I had an endolymphatic shunt put in my left ear. Except for some hearing loss & tinnitus in that ear & poor balance, I have had no dizziness until the last 3 weeks. There is not the spinning sensation I had before the surgery for 8 months, but feel very lightheaded. I am scheduled for an MRI tomorrow to try & get a diagnosis. I highly recommend the surgery which has worked well for me for 22 plus years. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t have positive results but with my situation I really had no choice.

  19. Steve

    Alice, people’s experiences do seem to differ. With me, it’s all been very positive. Most people have positive experiences. My surgeon didn’t promise me anything. He just outlined the possible surgical option, and said, “This is the least invasive surgery and it has a high success rate, so it’s the best place to start. If it doesn’t work, then we can look at something more drastic.” It seemed like great advice.

  20. Alice Sue Teague

    Oops! Just realized as I read my post that I said endolymphatic shunt surgery was in 2000. Actually, it was in 1990 which would make the time frame of 22 plus years accurate. The surgery was done in August of 1990 after 8 months of severe vertigo due to Meniere’s disease with no relief in spite of medications except one which relieved nausea. The minute I awoke in recovery I realized the spinning sensation was gone & I had no pain ever following surgery. Not sure why suddenly after all these years I am feeling lightheaded but hopefully will rule out other problems with MRI. I realize I’m very fortunate to have had successful surgery & have counted my blessings ever since.

  21. La-Toya South Africa

    Hi guys. I have been diagnosed with this dreaded disease as well and have been battling with it for the past 3 years. i am taking a tablet called SERC, it helps most of the time withing half and hour but somedays it takes hours before finding relief. I too have experienced the vomitting for a period of 6 hours non-stop and it was absolutely horrible. I will speak to my ENT and see what his views are about the endolymphatic shunt. I wonder if this type of surgery is even offered in South Africa.

  22. Terry Fowler

    I going to have Endolymphatic Shunt surgery with in the next month or as soon as possible.I have had meniers in my left ear for almost 2 years. As of July 1 2013 my has really been bad vertigo attacks almost every day as well as the ringing in my ears and the pressure in the left ear . I have had 4 of the steriod shots in this ear. It seemed to work somewhat but I was still having smaal attacks. All in all I will update this about a month after my surgery to let every know how I am doing.

  23. Julie

    My husband is contemplating doing the shunt surgery after having attacks since 2009 and with complete diet change and medications, he still is just able to keep the attacks at bay. If he misses taking a lerezepam pill 3 times a day he goes into dizzyness and sometimes full Vertigo. I’m hoping it’s not to early to start thinking about shunt surgery. Should the medications have no affect on him in order for him to justify doing the surgery? Is it too early to make this decision? I’d love anyone’s opinion.

  24. Carole

    I have had Menieres for almost 27 years now. My first ENT told me to wait 6 years before surgery because it might go away on its own. There was no Internet and I had no way of contacting someone else with this disease so I just did what he said and went through 4 years of nursing school never knowing when the next attack would strike. I finally had surgery but by that time I was totally deaf in my left ear. The shunt worked for 16 years and then I began to have symptoms again. This time it was drop attacks, positional vertigo, and, just dizziness . So my ENT told me it was time to kill off my inner ear with chemicals that he would pack into it. I went through some physical therapy to teach my brain how to work with only one balance mechanism and I did so fairly quickly although I will never walk the tight rope. Good luck to all of you

  25. joyce turco

    finally diagnosed after 10 yrs
    i go back to the doctor in 2 weeks prenisone and diuretics not working
    any names of docs in massacusetts

  26. Carina Rivenbark

    Hi Steve
    I am glad I ran across this article.
    I was finally diagnosed with Menieres in 2004. It has been one long journey that I have not enjoyed. I will be 45 in July and my life has been changed like I could have never imagined. I had to quit my job that I loved. You can’t work from the bathroom.
    I have been to Wilmington NC, Chapel Hill NC, Raleigh NC and Memphis TN.
    I am on Valium and nausea medicine and diuretics.
    I have had injections. All together I have had 5 injections.
    They didn’t help. It was awful !!!
    In the beginning, I would have severe bouts of throwing up and be bed ridden. I still get nauseated but can seem to get the medicine in me know before that point.
    I’m still nauseated, just not always hugging the commode.
    Also, I know just how far to push myself or suffer the consequences.
    I have severe nystagmus.
    The computer, TV, and moving objects set it off or it can just happen.
    I take my med and get under a blanket and just get real still.
    I have fullness of the ear, tinnitus and some hearing loss.
    I am afraid it is going bilateral.
    I have found a new ENT nearby.
    He is like none I have ever met.
    He wants me to try the stunt surgery.
    He took my husbands tonsils out recently and on his follow up he asked my husband about me !
    He won’t be the one to do the surgery but he knows two that do. I have been through soo much with each one leaving me in a deep depression. I’m scared and I don’t want to be disappointed again…
    Also, florescent lights send me in a tailspin.
    My eyes start jumping and I get nauseated.
    I rarely go in stores.
    I haven’t agreed to the surgery.
    I don’t know what to do.
    Carina

    NOT Proofread

    • Michelle

      Hi there, I was wondering if you had the shunt surgery yet or not?

  27. Bill

    Hi Menieres Bloggers and Sufferers,

    I have not seen in the replies anyone having “drop attacks” or Tumarkins. In 2010 I started having frequent violent vertigo attacks. These attacks stalled after diuretics, clonzapam (valium), CERC, and lowered salt intake. April, July and October of 2013 changed everything. I began having “drop attacks.” The Endolymphatic Shunt surgery was discussed with my ENT specialist – associated with Duke University. I had the surgery and have skipped having a “drop attack” since that time. I have experienced hearing loss prior to my Menieres diagnosis and following the diagnosis my hearing loss has gotten worse. Following the surgery the tinnitus in my Menieres ear has increased and loud noise unnerves me. My tinnitus has always had multiple sounds and now increased throbbing. Question? Drop attacks anyone?

  28. Steve

    Steve, my surgeon told me about the drop attacks, but I’ve not encountered anyone (live or in these comments) who experienced them. Doesn’t sound fun at all–just suddenly dropping to the ground. It’s great that the shunt surgery seems to have eliminated that for you.

  29. Chris Maden

    I found this article while researching endolymphatic shunt surgery. I have experienced Meniere’s for 5 years now, but only had vertigo attacks staying late last year. Diuretics are now keeping the 6 – 8 hour attacks away, but most days I experience the dizziness/foggy head/drunkenness feeling, along with the tinnitus and loss of hearing, which makes it difficult to concentrate at work. In fact, the profound loss of hearing (80 percent loss) coupled with the constant screaming of tinnitus is what is making me look around and consider this surgery. From these comments, however, it doesn’t seem that the surgery can always solve that, and it’s making those conditions worse in some people. Do you think it’s worth undergoing this surgery if you have your severe attacks under control and can live with the head fogginess/dizziness, despite how difficult that is?

  30. Steve

    Chris, your situation sounds very much like mine before I had the surgery. I was just taking diuretics–not Valium and other drugs, like some people take. My hearing loss was about the same, and tinnitus was louder than after the surgery. My experience has been wholly positive, so of course I recommend the surgery. It’s the least invasive surgical option. Maybe there are different techniques for doing the surgery, which accounts for the varying experiences. I don’t know. My surgeon (who has since retired) had been doing it for several decades.

  31. Bill

    Chris and Steve,

    I had hearing loss in my left and right ear prior to Menieres. Menieres accelerated my right ear – as is usually the case. Chris, I have just gone on medical leave from my profession. Social Security supports Menieres as a debilitating disease. I have recently applied as required. My hearing loss is 60+% in my Menieres ear and 40+% in the left ear. My Otolaryngologist told me following my surgery that my hearing loss was enough to change my lifestyle by removing stress and missing communication, etc. My Menieres right ear does not benefit from a hearing aid due to lack of speech clarity. I recommend the surgery – but the noise/pulse in the Menieres ear is louder than before the surgery. I will continue to check back to see if “drop attack” folk join the blog. Take care everyone!

  32. Mac

    I just had a second shunt surgery….My doc said he had better plumbing….I s it normal to be quite dizzy afterwards?? Days–weeks?

  33. Kim

    I was diagnosed in November 2013 after losing my hearing in my right ear.
    I have had unsteady balance issues since my early 20’s, MRI’s showed nothing so I just lived with it.
    Now I have unsteady feelings all the time, hearing loss and tinnitus so bad it’s unbearable. To top it off, I returned to the Dr on Monday for another hearing test and it’s now affecting my left ear as well. He put me back on steroids and today is day 6, no relief. Does anyone have hyperacusis, Sensitivity to noise? It is horrible.
    I have lost 20 lbs and very depressed.
    I am seeing a good Dr at Cleveland Clinic, Weston fl, but no bedside manner and doesn’t give much hope for return of hearing with Ménière’s.
    In November I was fine and in 5 months my hearing has deteriorated dramatically. Any suggestions for me?
    Thank you, Kim

  34. Bill

    Hello Kim,
    My Otolaryngologist – Duke Raleigh Hospital did shunt surgery on me back in October for Tumarkins or drop attacks. I have not had another drop attack – but hyperacusis or something similar has followed the surgery – I have pulse in my Menieres ear that gets louder with noise and exercise. Dizziness does not last long or occur often now. Hearing loss is severe left ear and now profound in my Menieres right ear. I was told that my hearing would fluctuate but it will not get better overall. My trouble began in 2007-8 and third stage Menieres began in 2012-13. I experience fullness and a wide range of tinnitus – like you. There is an ear piece that can divert the noise or soften your head noise – ask your specialist. I am not much help but will I do feel your pain and concern.

  35. Toni

    Hi My name is Toni I live in California. I have had menieres since 1998. I have been out of work since March of this year with bad vertigo. First I’m glad to have a name for my eyes twitching. I have drop attacks. I can’t move for many hours I am in a dazzled like state. If u touch me it is painful. I get so nausea it will my throat closes and I can start choking. I have 65 percent loss of hearing in left ear. Went to Stanford university and the Dr wanted to do Genimicine shot in my ear. I’m not ready to take a chance on this yet. It’s terrible reading what happens to all of you, but I’m taking comfort in knowing I’m not alone. I have been blessed with a boyfriend whose mother had this , and my therapist has this so we are able to talk of many things. I wish everyone the best

  36. Pam

    Is Dr. House still practicing in Indianapolis? I have been to Midwest Ear Insitute in Indy and saw Dr. Hicks but he has since retired and I am looking for a specialist to help me with my Meniere’s disease. Can you recommend someone I could see?

  37. Steve

    I had my First shunt surgery today, I hope n pray I get a really good out come. Feel a lot of pressure , fullness and it hurts a lot, How long will These symptoms go on? Can I use a Heating pad for the pain?

    • Steve

      It’ll take a couple of days for the pain to subside, and maybe a month for you to really feel the affects. At least that was my experience. But I’m sure glad I had the surgery. I didn’t use a heating pad–just took the pain pills they gave me, and slept a lot.

  38. Samantha

    I under went the shunt surgery a month ago, and was wondering how long it took for your ear to lay flat again! I still have some swelling, but all in all, a successful outcome. My hearing has retuned, and my attacks, while still weekly, are completely manageable. I now have warnings, very similar to what you described… Something telling me, hey, you’re about to have an attack… Feeling “off” when the weather gets bad, or when I have too much salt… So the only question I have is about your ear itself. My doctor said three weeks, but I’m approaching week five. It honestly looks as though I have someone else’s ear!

    Your story has given me so much hope. I truly hope I have the same outcome. I have two small children and a hubby that need me, and having Ménière’s disease has made it hard to be the mother I want to, and the wife that he deserves. I’m grateful for diazepam, dexamethasone, and combined with this shunt procedure, I’m thinking I may have one heck of a defense against Ménière’s!

  39. Samantha

    I have had drop attacks, acute vertigo and unsteadiness for about a year and one half. I tried steroid inner ear injections but the vertigo is back. Do you think I should have the shunt surgery? What are the risks, and what is the chance of it turning out OK? Was it painful and how long did it take to fully recover? I would like to hear honest reports on this surgery. My life is a shell of what it was as I am always afraid of getting an attacks. Pleas let me know what you all have experienced.

  40. Bill

    Samantha

    Shunt surgery worked for me. Hearing loss did not get better, but no more drops and vertigo. I have minor rare dizzy spells and that is all. Menieres is such an unpredictable disease. The recovery time was just days.

  41. Kelly Mayer

    I was diagnosed with Menieres in September of 2014. My first attack was in May of 2014. THe attacked just continued to get worse and I was at home more then at work. I had the shunt surgery about 2 weeks ago. At first the rining and fullness was a lot worse but now it has gotten better and I am starting to hear again out of my left ear. I have had several vertigo attackes but they are not as severe as before.
    I have had a lot of neck pain and was wondering if anyne else has experienced this and also does it take some time for the attackes to lighten up after the proceduer? The pain in my neck also causes some dizziness so it isn’t helping.
    So glad to hear of all the success stories. They are very encouraging!!!!

    • Veronica Morua

      Kelly,
      Two weeks after surgery I started to experience the neck pain too. Has our stated whats its from ? Did you have additional testing ? Results.

      Veronica
      veronicayvasquez32@yahoo.com

  42. Kelly Mayer

    I just had the surgery 2 weeks ago and my family is planning a trip to Alaska at the end of May. Has anyone flown or been on a cruise ship since the surgery? If so how did that go for you?

  43. Steve

    I hope the shunt surgery works well for you. I’m surprised you’re getting some hearing back; I didn’t regain any hearing in my left ear. I, too, experienced some vertigo attacks in the weeks after the surgery, but they were not as bad. It often seemed like I could feel the shunt kicking in, trying to lessen the attack. Now, five years later, I rarely have any vertigo.

    I don’t know what the neck pain would be about.

    As for flying: I’ve flown probably five times since the surgery, and haven’t had any problems whatsoever. Can’t speak for a cruise, though.

  44. Samantha B-L

    Hold up the sky for me tomorrow. I am having the surgery tomorrow at 6AM, in NYC after much back and forth. I hope it does’t hurt too much, that the doctor has a nice relaxed evening tonight, AND MOST OF ALL THAT IT WORKS.

    • Samantha B-L

      Had the surgery yesterday. Noises are louder; when I chew on a cracker it sounds like a truck rolling over ice! Just took 2 extra strength tylenols since I got home. I am feeling dizzy and unsteady from all the general anesthesia today and I hope my recovery will be as smooth as some of yours. Had a cup type bandage over my ear that looks like your picture did, Steve. I took it off today, as instructed. Friday the dr takes out the stitches. If I get my life back with no drop attacks and vertigo, I will try to be the kindest person on this planet as a “thank you.”

  45. Samantha B-L

    It is Day 5 since my surgery. The pain was not bad and I never needed anything stronger than extra strength tylenol. I am very unsteady on my feet and dizzy. I do hope this goes away. I get the feeling from this blog that this is common after the surgery; does this go away after a month or two?

  46. Samantha B-L

    Hey guys,
    I’m 2 weeks and 2 days out from the surgery and still getting vertigo. I am bummed out.
    Could someone tell me this is normal.

    • Josh L

      I am sorry this surgery does seem to be working for you. So after 2 weeks you don’t have any relief or it doesn’t seem to be any better. I am not sure of the physics why the improvement shouldn’t be immediate.

      I am thinking of doing it too, but from reading all the comments here (which are extremely valuable), it doesn’t seem to be a cure all.

  47. Diane Smith

    Hello. I am contemplating having the shunt surgery. I have had Meniere’s for about two years but did not start having symptoms until February 27th, 2015. I had 8 episodes of sweating, vertigo, nausea, vomiting in March alone. I started getting the shots in April and May and just today had my third shot. The episodes are getting longer in between but are still somewhat severe. I would say they are just slightly better since I have been getting the shots. I had the worst episode ever a week ago Friday and that sucker lasted almost a full 24 hours. I have had to leave work 3 times now and fortunately my employer is very sympathedic to my situation. One of my fellow employees has a friend who has Meniere’s and she is very knowledgeable about it. So, should I stay or should I go?

  48. Margie

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am having my surgery Dec 14th and am actually looking forward to it. Take care and I wish you the best!

  49. Brian McKinney

    I had the shunt surgery by Dr Gary Jackson in Nashville, TN back in 2004. He told me shunts last 7-10 years. Well, I was on year 12 and this morning I woke up with lots of pressure and more hearing loss in that ear. I have not had a vertigo attack yet but expect it soon. So my question is this for everyone who has had the surgery- how many years have you had your shunt AND has anyone had to get their’s updated because it stopped working?

  50. Viola

    Hi Guys,Like Steve ,I was diagnosed since 2004 with meniere’s disease. The last 4 years I’ve been experienced a lot of episodes. I couldn’t handle anymore, so I decided for endolymphatic shunt surgery, which I had on March 3,2016.
    For 2 months I was ok, just few noises and ear popping some times,but no episodes. However one week ago I was very dizzy,couldn’t stay at work.Today again I feel quite dizzy .I’m walking like a drunk person It’s been 24 hours so far non stop. Could someone tell me this is normal. Thank you in advance

  51. Veronica Morua

    I was diagnosed with Menieres in early October and had Endolymphatic shunt surgery on October 24th. The first two weeks I excepted not to feel well. Its not week 4 and Im getting symptoms of an vertigo attack. I get hot, sweaty, stomach hurts and a unsteady feeling. No full spinning as of yet. I haven’t driven much every vision seems to be blurry over the last two weeks. Can anyone tell me if they had similar symptoms. I haven’t returned to work, due to felling anxiety all the time and symptoms. I see Dr Wilkinson out to the House Clinic of Orange on November 29th for a follow up. Is there anything I should ask him ? Or request of additional testing. Email me @ veronicayvasquez32@yahoo.com or text me 909 5590783
    To all that suffer with Menieres – prayers to you and you families.

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