Do You Have A Case?

Ménière’s Disease is a severe inner ear disorder affecting one’s hearing and balance. Also known as endolymphatic hydrops, this condition can cause vertigo, headaches/migraines, tinnitus, hearing loss, dizziness, and balance issues. Often, the symptoms of this condition can make it difficult to work, as the individual struggles with disorienting symptoms. There is also no known cure for this condition. Before filing a long-term disability claim for this condition, you should consider a few things.

Does Ménière’s Disease Count as a Disability?

This condition causes an array of chronic physical symptoms which can limit one’s ability to perform work tasks effectively or safely. Overall, this can result in long-term disability. Symptoms like vertigo and other balance limitations can limit your physical capabilities at work. While other symptoms such as tinnitus and the headaches this condition causes can be a cognitive deficit to you. Additionally, Ménière’s Disease can cause secondary emotional conditions, such as anxiety & depression.

Generally, you have to provide proof to your insurance company of how your Ménière’s Disease limits your ability to work, in order for it to be considered a disability.

Symptoms of Ménière’s Disease

Most of the symptoms of Ménière’s Disease can be chronic and severe enough to have a significant impact on your life. When building your long-term disability insurance claim, it is important to mention the different symptoms you experience, and how they affect you. Common physical symptoms of include

  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Pressure in ears (Aural fullness)
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Sleeping

Additionally, Ménière’s Disease can cause a number of cognitive and emotional symptoms. These may include:

  • Cognitive deficits (impaired concentration, focus, memory, etc.)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lower stress tolerance
  • Panic disorders
  • Social anxiety/isolation
  • Decreased mental acuity

Secondary emotional and cognitive symptoms can be often overlooked. However, they can be helpful in providing a fuller picture of the impact of your condition to your insurance company. While it is important to show the impact they have on your life, you should maintain that your Ménière’s Disease is the primary disability you are suffering from. Otherwise, the insurance company may try to dismiss your case or limit your benefits under Mental Illness Limitations.

Providing Proof of Diagnosis

woman with hearing aid for her Ménière's Disease talking with a coworker. Ménière's Disease concept

Generally, your insurance company will require proof of your diagnosis for any long-term disability. However, there is no diagnostic test for Ménière’s Disease. Because of this, you will likely have to undergo a variety of tests to rule out other possible conditions first. Diagnostic testing may include hearing tests, ENG, or electrocochleography, which examine hearing and vestibular issues. A CT scan or MRI of the brain can rule out tumors.

Additionally, your doctor will look for clinical signs of Ménière’s Disease. This will include balance, steadiness, hearing loss, headaches, tinnitus, and more. Coupled with the above results, a proper diagnosis can be given. It is important to discuss any and all symptoms you are experiencing with your doctor.

The insurance company will want to see a broad diagnostic review to help confirm the diagnosis. Between testing and clinical symptoms, you should be able to provide enough evidence of your condition.

Ménière’s Disease and Appropriate Treatment

While there is no cure for Ménière’s Disease, there are still treatments to help manage and reduce symptoms. Generally, your insurance company will require proof of ongoing treatment for your condition. This can come in many forms. Your doctors can help you find the right treatments to fit your needs. Often, this includes seeing specialists, like an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor). Be sure to follow up on appointments and follow treatment guidelines. Otherwise, the insurance company can deny your claim or end your benefits over non-compliance.

Medications

Medications for Ménière’s Disease may include vertigo treatments. Usually, these consist of anti-nausea or motion sickness medications. Injected medications into the ear by your doctor can also be an option. They may recommend antibiotics or steroid injections into the ear.

Therapies and Devices

Vestibular rehabilitation can be a process that helps restore some of your ear’s balance function. This can also you cope with symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can b helpful in addressing the cognitive and emotional symptoms of your condition.

There are a number of devices that can help with your hearing and vertigo symptoms. These include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and Meniett devices. A Meniett device delivers micro-pressure pulses to influence the inner ear fluids. This helps reduce vertigo and ear pressure.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical options for treating vertigo and other symptoms of Ménière’s Disease are an option if your symptoms are severe enough. There are 3 different procedures that your doctor may recommend. They each have different risks and recovery times associated with them, so be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.

Firstly, there is the vestibular nerve section. During this procedure, the surgeon cuts your vestibular nerve. This surgery attempts to preserve hearing while eliminating or reducing vertigo. Next is the endolymphatic sac procedure. This is a process where the surgeon attempts to restore endolymph homeostasis in the inner ear and maintain hydrostatic pressure. Overall, this procedure can help reverse ear damage, and restore hearing levels.

Last is a labyrinthectomy. This procedure is often a last-ditch effort to treat vertigo. It is generally only recommended for patients with limited hearing in that ear, as it destroys the vestibular end organs to eliminate vestibular function. While it relieves vertigo symptoms, it is usually only recommended after other treatment options have been exhausted.

Ménière’s Disease and the Inability to Work

Ménière’s Disease can be incredibly debilitating, However, your insurance company probably won’t understand the scope of how your condition affects your ability to work. As such, you will likely have to provide evidence of how your symptoms limit your ability to work. For example, your vertigo may make it difficult to commute to and from work. Your balance issues can make it hard for you to navigate the office safely. Severe headaches can make it hard to concentrate at work. Tinnitus and hearing loss can make communicating with coworkers or clients difficult. Cognitive issues can also play a role in your inability to perform at work.

Building your case requires a lot of communication with your doctor and disability attorney. Be sure to discuss all of your symptoms, and how they affect your ability to work with your doctor. Your disability attorney will be able to help you navigate the application process to create a stronger disability claim. By working closely with your doctor(s) and lawyer, you can have a stronger case that provides more evidence in your favor. Because the symptoms of Ménière’s Disease can be episodic, be sure to highlight the frequency and severity of your condition.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for Ménière’s Disease?

If you are looking to file a long-term disability claim for your condition, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions such as Ménière’s Disease file long-term disability claims. We help you through the process step by step to help you build a strong case. Our law team is here for you.

At D’Agostino & Associates, our team of lawyers can help you sort through all the details, understand what you are entitled to, and fight to get what you deserve. D’Agostino & Associates P.C. has offices in New York and New Jersey. Contact us, or call us at 1-888-245-2924 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.

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