The major symptoms of Ménière’s disease are episodic vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, and tinnitus. Direction-changing spontaneous nystagmus is a characteristic vestibular finding in Ménière’s disease. In the acute stage, spontaneous nystagmus beating to the affected side (irritative nystagmus) is often observed, while paralytic nystagmus beating to the healthy side is found in the chronic stage. This direction-changing nystagmus can be reproduced in guinea pigs by increasing the potassium ion concentration in the perilymph. The objectives of the present study were to examine the effects of increasing the potassium ion concentration of the rat perilymph on hearing and nystagmus. Under isoflurane anesthesia, 22 rats received intratympanic injection of different concentrations of potassium chloride (KCl) solution or distilled water: groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 received saturated (3.4 M) KCl solution, 2 M KCl, 1 M KCl, and distilled water, respectively. The nystagmus direction and number per 15 s were monitored for 150 min. In the other 8 rats, hearing was monitored 30 min and 20 h after intratympanic injection of 2 M KCl (group 5) or distilled water (group 6) using the auditory brainstem responses. Rats in groups 1 and 2 showed spontaneous irritative nystagmus beating to the affected ear followed by paralytic nystagmus beating to the contralateral side. In group 3, irritative nystagmus occurred but paralytic nystagmus was rarely observed. Rats in group 4 showed no nystagmus. Rats in group 5 showed significant hearing impairment 30 min after KCl injection that recovered 20 h later. Control animals in group 6 showed no significant changes in hearing. The reversible hearing impairment with direction-changing spontaneous nystagmus induced by potassium injection into the tympanic cavity in rats was quite similar to that observed in acute Ménière’s attacks. This rat model could be used for basic research investigating the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying Ménière’s attacks.