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Meniere’s Disease and How It Impacts Your Ability to Work

July 10, 2017
Meniere's Disease and How It Impacts Your Ability to Work

Meniere’s disease (“Meniere’s”) is an inner ear disorder, characterized by episodes of vertigo that make you feel as if you are spinning. Meniere’s can also cause fluctuating hearing loss, permanent hearing loss, and tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears. Meniere’s usually begins in only one ear, but can later involve both ears.

One of the primary symptoms of Meniere’s is having recurring episodes of vertigo. The cause of Meniere’s is not fully understood, and may be the result of multiple contributing factors, but it is believed to be the result of abnormal fluid buildup in the inner ear.

One element of Meniere’s that makes it so difficult to manage is the unpredictability of its symptoms. Sudden episodes of vertigo can occur at any time, and could be life-threatening if they occur while a person is performing certain tasks. The prospect of permanent hearing loss is also a risk of Meniere’s.

Meniere’s is diagnosed using hearing tests, balance tests, and tests to rule out other conditions. Unfortunately, Meniere’s is a chronic condition with no known cure. Medications may be prescribed to help with nausea that occurs during intense episodes of vertigo. Other medications and therapies may attempt to prevent fluid buildup in the ear. Injections and surgical treatments may also be attempted if more conservative treatments are not effective.

Working can be difficult for those who suffer from Meniere’s due to the unpredictable episodes of vertigo that can strike at any time. Physical work can be dangerous for those who have Meniere’s due to the risk of falling or losing balance. Even sedentary work may become difficult, as episodes of vertigo can be debilitating. Hearing loss associated with Meniere’s can also impair your ability to perform certain work-related tasks.

A doctor’s diagnosis and notes on your functional limitations will be necessary when filing a claim for long-term disability due to Meniere’s. Depending on your insurance policy, you may also need to show that you cannot transition to less demanding work. You may be able to receive partial disability benefits if you need to change your job duties or work schedule and therefore receive substantially less income.

If your claim for long-term disability has been denied, ask an experienced long-term disability attorney about your appeal rights.

Contact the experienced ERISA lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick if your long-term disability claim has been denied.  Visit our website to learn more about disability claim denials and to download our free ERISA law guide.