UW News

April 11, 2002

Hearing research: Device for inner ear disorder to be tested here

The Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the UW is looking for people diagnosed with a common inner ear disorder called Ménière’s disease as part of a multicenter clinical study of a new device: the Meniett pressure-pulse generator.

Ménière’s disease affects more than 2.4 million Americans and causes spells of vertigo associated with hearing loss, ear ringing (tinnitis), and ear pressure. The vertigo attacks are often incapacitating, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and loss of balance, and may result in chronic dizziness and unsteadiness. The Meniett device is designed for the 30 percent of people with the condition whose vertigo symptoms persist despite standard medical therapy, and who are considering surgery.

The Meniett device is a small, portable, hand-held, low-pressure-pulse generator. An ear tube is surgically placed through the eardrum to allow the tiny pressure pulses to reach the inner ear. The Meniett device is applied by holding the earpiece (like an ear plug) to the outer ear three times a day for five minutes to deliver the pressure therapy.

Study candidates will be people with unilateral (just one ear) Meniere’s disease who are actively experiencing vertigo attacks that persist despite a low sodium diet and/or water pill, but have not elected to have surgical treatment. Patients must be experiencing fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitis and ear pressure in the affected ear, and be between 21 and 70.

For more information, please see

http://depts.washington.edu/hearing/Meniett.htmlor call Aimee Verrall, the study coordinator, at 206-616-2840.