Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis often result from an infection that inflames the inner ear and the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. As one of the most common causes of vertigo, chronically, these conditions can lead to discomforts while performing everyday activities, such as walking, turning your head, and even using a computer.
In some cases, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis might go away all on their own. However, many cases require treatment. Below, we explore the symptoms of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, the causes, how these conditions are diagnosed, and what treatment entails.
Symptoms of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis
Vestibular neuritis only impacts the inner ear balance system. Meanwhile, labyrinthitis affects the inner ear hearing system, which may result in hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Other common symptoms of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis include:
- Constant and intense spinning sensations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vision problems
- Trouble standing or walking
Vertigo associated with these conditions also tends to arise without warning. Even simply turning your head a certain way can cause this symptom to happen, leading to nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Causes of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis
Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis typically happen after a viral or bacterial infection. In the majority of cases, these conditions are caused by a virus, such as the flu, shingles, or chickenpox. Additionally, bacterial labyrinthitis may result from meningitis or untreated middle ear infections.
The bacterial and viral infections leading to these conditions often resolve all on their own or via the use of antibiotics. Yet, these infections may leave the inner ear permanently damaged, leading to more serious symptoms, such as hearing loss.
In any case, a diagnosis is essential to ensure you get proper treatment and limit any long-term impacts.
Diagnosis of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis
Similar to other vestibular conditions, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are typically diagnosed through the process of elimination. Examination and tests, such as hearing tests, electronystagmography, or MRI tests, help your doctor rule out head injuries, strokes, neurological disorders, allergies, and other conditions as causes of your symptoms.
As part of the diagnostic phase, your doctor will also use your medical history, answers to specific questions, initial symptoms, current symptoms, and more to determine a diagnosis of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis.
Treatment of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis
Treatment of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis is initially dependant on the cause. For instance, if the cause is determined to be a bacterial infection, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. In many cases, early treatment can help prevent permanent inner ear damage.
Vestibular rehabilitation conducted by a qualified physiotherapist can help retrain your brain and alter the interpretation of nerve messages coming from the inner ear. During vestibular rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will show you and perform exercises with you to help combat your symptoms. These exercises often involve specific head movements and balance practices, which are further important to perform at home to maximise treatment efforts.
Your physiotherapist will also encourage you to remain active. While sitting down might feel more comfortable, ensuring regular movement is part of your daily routine helps your body and balance system adapt and ensures you can return to your regular activities or sports as safely and as quickly as possible.
Physiotherapy can help you get back on track with your health and your life. The sooner you seek out treatment, the better. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis and require treatment, call us at 03 9034 7735 or book online. Start your journey toward a healthier and happier life today.