Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that affects a part of the ear known as the labyrinth. It helps to maintain balance, so when it becomes inflamed, those with the condition often feel dizzy or experience vertigo, among other symptoms. It is generally a temporary condition, although, in some cases, permanent hearing loss may occur.
Although dizziness and vertigo are among the most common symptoms of labyrinthitis, there are several other symptoms that may also be experienced, including:
The symptoms of labyrinthitis may start quite suddenly, even emerging overnight, but do tend to settle after a few days. The severity of the symptoms will vary from person to person, with some cases lasting in excess of several weeks. If you are feeling dizzy, having trouble with your balance or believe that you have labyrinthitis, it is a good idea to see your GP. Also avoid driving and using potentially dangerous equipment. Alcohol and caffeine should also be avoided to prevent exacerbating your symptoms.
More often than not, labyrinthitis is caused by a viral infection. However, the condition may also occur as a result of a bacterial infection or other health issues.
It may occur as a result of the following:
If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with labyrinthitis, book an appointment with your GP. If sudden bouts of vertigo or single sided deafness occur, seek urgent medical care.
In most cases, symptoms should lessen within a few days and may not require treatment. However, in some cases, the symptoms of labyrinthitis can remain for weeks or months. If this occurs, further treatment and rehabilitation may be required.
Symptoms of labyrinthitis are similar to those of other conditions. Therefore, when diagnosing labyrinthitis, your GP may need to complete a physical examination and neurological evaluation to rule out any other conditions, such as:
Some of the tests may include:
Depending on the cause of labyrinthitis, treatments may include:
If you are currently experiencing labyrinthitis, ensure that you’re getting plenty of rest and drinking enough fluids. Resting on your side may also provide relief during dizzy spells. It may also be a good idea to avoid caffeine, alcohol, bright lights, stressful situations and loud noises, which may exacerbate your symptoms.