Labyrinthitis is an ear disorder that involves irritation and swelling of the inner ear.
See also: Meniere's disease
The are likely many causes of labyrinthitis. It commonly occurs after an ear infection ( otitis media ) or an upper respiratory infection. It may also occur after an allergy, cholesteatoma, or taking certain drugs that are dangerous to the inner ear.
During labyrinthitis, the parts of the inner ear become irritated and inflamed. This interferes with their function, which includes the ability to keep your balance.
The following raise your risk for labyrinthitis:
A complete physical and neurological exam should be done. An ear examination may not reveal any problems.
Usually, the diagnosis of layrinthitis does not require other tests. Tests will be done to rule out other causes for your symptoms. These may include:
Labyrinthitis usually goes away within a few weeks. Treatment involves reducing symptoms, such as spinning sensations. Medications that may reduce symptoms include:
Persistent balance problems may improve with physical therapy. To prevent worsening of symptoms during episodes of labyrinthitis, try the following:
You may need help walking when symptoms occur. Avoid hazardous activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after symptoms have disappeared.
If you have severe vomiting, you may be admitted to the hospital.
Severe symptoms usually go away within a week. Most patients are completely better within 2 to 3 months. Continued dizziness is more likely to last in older patients.
Hearing usually returns to normal. In some cases, hearing loss may be permanent.
Call your health care provider if dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance, or other symptoms of labyrinthitis are present. Also call if hearing loss occurs.
Urgent or emergency symptoms include double vision, weakness or paralysis, slurring of speech, convulsions, fainting, persistent vomiting, or vertigo accompanied by fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prompt treatment of respiratory infections and ear infections may help prevent labyrinthitis.
Bacterial labyrinthitis; Serous labyrinthitis; Neuronitis - vestibular; Vestibular neuronitis; Viral neurolabyrinthitis; Vestibular neuritis