A labyrinthectomy is known to relieve vertigo successfully in the majority of patients who suffer from Menière's disease and have non-serviceable hearing in the affected ear. It is assumed that the procedure reduces disability, helps the patient to return to work and improves the quality of life. Eighteen patients who underwent a transmastoid drill-out labyrinthectomy between 1980 and 1990 were interviewed and an attempt was made to evaluate the success of the operation in accordance with the guidelines set out by the AAO-HNS 1985. In the present series it was noted that although vertigo was relieved in 89 per cent of patients after labyrinthectomy, only 50 per cent of them returned to work. In this study, the age and occupation of the patient at the time of surgery and the relief of vertigo did not accurately predict whether or not a patient returned to work.