Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis

Symptoms

The inflammation of the vestibular nerve interferes with balance, causing dizziness and vertigo (a feeling that you or everything around you is spinning around). You might also feel sick, vomit, or have blurry vision.

Labyrinthitis also includes loss of hearing and tinnitus.

Causes

Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis can follow on from things like a cold or sore throat, where a viral infection has spread to the vestiubular nerve.

Bacterial infections can also cause this condition, stemming from things like a middle ear infection or following a head injury.

Diagnosis

As vertigo and dizziness can be symptoms of various conditions, diagnosing labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis is usually based on your symptoms and an examination to rule out other possible conditions. You may also be referred for specialised vestibular (balance) tests.

Treatment and prevention

With early treatment, it's common to fully recover with no lasting damage. Treatment will depend on the cause and will mainly focus on managing the more debilitating symptoms of the condition. If it has been caused by an underlying infection, you might be prescribed antibiotics to clear the infection and reduce the inflammation.

Your doctor might recommend taking medication to control nausea or to reduce dizziness. In more severe cases, it might be necessary to undergo some rehabilitation therapy to help your body and your brain learn how to adapt to changes in your balance.

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