Labyrinthitis: What Is Vestibular Neuritis?

What Is Labyrinthitis?

labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, is an inflammation of the inner ear that results in a vertigo-like sensation. Patients often feel as though they are moving or spinning when they are actually at rest. It can be a brief, isolated occurrence or a persistent condition, depending on the underlying cause. Labyrinthitis is incredibly common, affecting approximately 35 million people worldwide each year. It is found equally in men and women, typically between 30 and 60 years of age.

Causes

  • Respiratory infections
  • Viral infections
  • Herpes virus
  • Stomach viruses
  • Middle ear infections
  • Lyme disease
  • Allergies
  • Stroke
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Certain medications
    • Aspirin

Types

There is only one type of labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.

vestibular neuritis

Symptoms

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty focusing the eyes

Diagnosis

Your primary care physician can diagnose labyrinthitis through a physical examination and evaluation of your medical history. They may also refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist to rule out certain inner ear conditions. In some cases, they may also refer you to a neurologist to rule out certain neurological conditions that mimic the symptoms of vestibular neuritis.

Treatment

The most common treatment for labyrinthitis is vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy involves re-training the vestibular system to respond appropriately to postural changes, rather than producing a spinning, vertigo-like sensation.

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