Purpose: To explore the meanings of Ménière’s disease from the perspective of people living with this condition and to understand what was considered significant and important in participants’ everyday lives.
Materials and methods: Four women with Ménière’s disease participated in face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Accounts were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using an iterative process integral to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Results: Three interconnected themes were identified. “You have no control whatsoever” conveys participants’ perceptions of vertigo as having a disruptive and ongoing impact on physical and psychosocial function in everyday life. “Ménière’s takes away your life completely” describes Ménière’s as impinging on participants’ most meaningful activities and relationships, and as restricting their ability to live their lives on their own terms. “You get on with life” recounts participants’ efforts to refashion their lives whilst living with this condition and manage its most harmful effects. The psychosocial impact of living with Ménière’s disease and its relevance to rehabilitation is discussed.
Conclusions: Ménière’s disease has an enduring physical and psychosocial impact. Clinicians who acknowledge and respond to an individual’s subjective experience of their condition may be key to their engagement in therapy. Service users should have a voice in health service design and delivery.