An inner ear disorder with symptoms that include hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
I compiled these pages in 1999 with the aim of explaining a special treatment, directly or indirectly, to those suffering from Ménière’s disease. At that time, this form of treatment, which helped me to overcome my own vertigo, was largely unknown.
I had already tried out several methods designed to cure Ménière’s disease, but none of them proved to be particularly successful.
I had consulted a number of doctors who gave me prescriptions for medication which was intended to improve my condition, but in the end did not. I had considered undergoing surgery (e.g. destroying the membranous labyrinth, saccotomy, labyrinthectomy, vestibular neurectomy), but rejected such a possibility on the grounds that any damage caused to the respective ear would be irreversible. Furthermore, it is most likely that in cases of Ménière’s disease, the other ear would ultimately be affected as well, with the result that after such an operation, the vestibular system as a whole would no longer function and one’s sense of hearing would be impaired.
In my case, it took years before Ménière’s disease was considered as a possible diagnosis. The first symptoms of the condition appeared when I was just 16 years old. Statistically speaking, however, Ménière’s disease generally affects older patients. Therefore, otolaryngologists were wary of diagnosing this illness in such a young person.
Thus many years passed until, in September 1999, I met Professor von Ilberg. Together we went through my whole medical history. A number of examinations followed, e.g. computer tomography (CT), balance test, hearing test, ear microscopy, nerve conduction study (BERA test), magnetic resonance tomography (MRT). All the results were evaluated, and finally the suspicion of Ménière’s disease was confirmed.
Subsequent consultations and discussions concerning Ménière’s disease failed to improve the situation, so that I began to think that there was no otolaryngologist who could really help me. But, as we all know, things can change, and quite unexpectedly a totally new chance of combating the most unpleasant symptom of the disease (namely vertigo) arose when Professor von Ilberg told me about labyrinth anaesthesia. Three weeks later, after extensive conversations and other necessary preparations, I had the actual treatment.
Ten years have meanwhile passed since I underwent labyrinth anaesthesia, and during that time I have not suffered a single episode of vertigo (so-called Ménière’s attack). There is still slight tinnitus and partially impaired hearing with regard to the affected ear, but such symptoms are relatively insignificant compared to the sensation of sudden vertigo.
The labyrinth anaesthesia was performed by Professor von Ilberg at the UniversityHospital in Frankfurt am Main during his time there as professor ordinarius. In order to have the treatment, I had to stay in the clinic for 1 week. Meanwhile Professor von Ilberg has left the UniversityHospital and, together with other specialists, runs a joint surgery in the city, called the Meniere Center Frankfurt, where various ENT diseases (e.g. Ménière’s disease, vertigo, tinnitus, conductive hearing loss) are treated. Perhaps the main advantage of such an institute is that all necessary examinations can be carried out in one day, without the usual waiting times. This is of tremendous benefit to patients who have to travel there from outside Frankfurt or even, as in my case, from abroad.
I have been told by Professor von Ilberg and by some of his patients who write to me as website operators that labyrinth anaesthesia has been further developed in the last 10 years and that hospital treatment now takes less than one day.
Most probably, it is not possible to help everybody suffering from Ménière’s disease. Nevertheless, I would advise anyone who is affected at least to contact Professor von Ilberg for more detailed information. If labyrinth anaesthesia is applicable in a given case, then this can surely lead to an improvement in the individual’s quality of life.
As already mentioned above, I have been without symptoms for more than 10 years and am now able to do things, above all together with my family, which would not have been feasible during the time when I had to cope with vertigo. Of course, nobody knows whether the symptoms will reappear one day. But it is definitely true to say that labyrinth anaesthesia has meant more quality of life for me, and at this point I would like to say a really big thank you to Professor von Ilberg for helping me so much.
It is not only a question of overcoming vertigo, but also of learning again to live without constant fear of an attack. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time at the moment to write about all the positive things associated with my personal experience. But maybe I will do so one day.
If you have any questions or comments concerning this short article, do not hesitate to contact me.
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All the best