OBJECTIVE: To study the role of vestibular rehabilitation is treating patients with Meniere's disease. METHODS: We examined all Meniere's patients presenting to our tertiary care specialized vestibular clinic during a 1-year period. All patients underwent a standardized history and physical examination, a complete auditory-vestibular test battery, and a set of physical therapy tools to measure balance function. RESULTS: A subset of patients suffered from disequilibrium or unsteadiness between attacks. Once the acute fluctuating symptoms of Meniere's were controlled in this group of individuals, all of them underwent vestibular physical therapy and demonstrated significant improvement in balance function on both objective and self-report tests. CONCLUSIONS: Due to the fluctuating nature of the disorder, vestibular physical therapy has had a limited role in the treatment of Meniere's disease. In general, rehabilitation has been used only as a postoperative treatment for the acute vertigo seen after vestibular neurectomy or labyrinthectomy. This is the first report advocating the role of vestibular physical therapy in a group of patients receiving medical therapy of intraear medicines (other that gentamicin).
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