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Labyrinthitis: What Is Vestibular Neuritis?

Labyrinthitis: What Is Vestibular Neuritis?
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Labyrinthitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, refers to an inflammation of the inner ear. This inflammation causes a dizzy, vertigo-like sensation for the patient. The patient may feel as if the room is spinning or that their body is moving when it is actually standing still. Labyrinthitis can be a chronic condition or a brief, short-lived condition. It is very common, affecting around 35 million people worldwide every year. It occurs equally in women and men, and is most often diagnosed between 30 and 60 years of age.

What Causes Labyrinthitis?

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

Types of Labyrinthitis

There is only one type of labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.

Labyrinthitis Symptoms

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

vestibular neuritis

Diagnosing Labyrinthitis

A primary care physician can diagnose labyrinthitis. They will perform a physical examination and assess your medical history. They may refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. An ENT can rule out certain inner ear conditions that lead to labyrinthitis. They may also refer you to a neurologist to rule out certain neurological conditions that mimic the symptoms of labyrinthitis.

Treating Labyrinthitis

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is the most common treatment for labyrinthitis. This entails a re-training of the vestibular system, to ensure that it can respond appropriately to postural changes and not produce a vertigo-like sensation.

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