What tests are used to diagnose Meniere’s disease?
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we’ve created the Pediatric Balance and Vestibular Disorders Clinic to help diagnose and treat conditions like Meniere’s disease.
Our otolaryngologists (ear care specialists) and audiologists (hearing and balance specialists) work together for comprehensive medical and vestibular testing to rule out other causes of dizziness and to look for the specific features of Meniere’s disease. We may recommend getting images from a CT scan or MRI to rule out other disorders. Since this disorder is rare in children, these exams usually lead to a diagnosis other than Meniere’s disease.
It’s helpful to keep a journal of your child’s episodes, including time and length of episodes and symptoms and events that may have triggered an episode. These details can help us make a diagnosis.
We follow diagnostic criteria established by the Committee for Classification of Vestibular Disorders of the Bárány Society, which is an international community of scientists and clinicians performing leading vestibular research.
Children meeting these criteria may receive a Meniere’s disease diagnosis:
- At least 2 spontaneous episodes of vertigo, lasting 20 minutes to 12 hours
- Hearing tests show low- to mid-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in at least one ear
- Fluctuating ear symptoms including tinnitus, hearing loss or ear fullness
- Providers have ruled out a different inner ear, balance or headache disorder
What can I expect from Meniere’s disease testing?
The first step is a vestibular evaluation, which may require a referral to our Audiology Services from your child’s doctor. This evaluation varies depending on your child’s age and developmental level and will last either 1.5 hours or 2.5 hours. Your child should also have a comprehensive audiologic evaluation to assess their hearing. We also recommend frequent monitoring so we can document any changes with their hearing or symptoms.
Depending on the evaluation results, we may refer your child to the Pediatric Balance and Vestibular Disorders Clinic for a multidisciplinary exam by doctors from Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), Audiology, Physical Therapy and Neurology.