Fifty-four patients, diagnosed with Meniere's disease and treated with diuretics and a low-salt diet, were evaluated retrospectively with the 1985 AAO/HNS Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium (CHE) guidelines for vertigo and hearing changes. The patient data base was also evaluated with other methods that helped determine the effectiveness of the 1985 AAO/HNS CHE guidelines. After 24 months of therapy, vertigo control was complete or substantial in 79% of the patients, limited or insignificant in 19%, and worse in 2% as evaluated by the CHE 1985 guidelines. Hearing improved in 35% of the patients, was unchanged in 29%, was worse in 22%, and could not be classified by CHE guidelines in 14%. Hearing was also evaluated by comparison of individual thresholds before medical therapy, and at 22 and 74 months after the start of medical therapy. We found a stabilization of low- and mid- threshold frequencies, with an average rate of hearing loss approximating 0 dB/yr with 74 months of followup. The results of this preliminary study suggest that diuretics and a low-salt diet may decrease the natural progression of sensorineural hearing loss in patients with Meniere's disease. Compared with other methods of data analysis, the 1985 CHE guidelines lacked sensitivity to evaluate the hearing changes observed.
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