What is it?

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection characterized by inflammation of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is the inner ear system responsible for your hearing and sense of balance. When the labyrinth or one of the nerves inside the labyrinth is inflamed or irritated, hearing and balance can be affected. This is because your brain tries to make sense of mismatched information between the healthy labyrinth or nerve and the infected one.

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Signs & symptoms

People with labyrinthitis may experience a sudden onset of symptoms, including:
* Loss of balance.
* Dizziness.
* Vertigo.
* Nausea and vomiting.
* Blurry vision.
* Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Hearing loss.
*Nystagmus (involuntary eye movements).


The doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about the symptoms and medical history. They may also order tests to assess your hearing, balance and other nervous system functions including:
* Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
* Electrocardiogram (EKG)
* Vestibular Test Battery. This battery of tests is designed to evaluate the function of the balance portion of your labyrinth/vestibulocochlear nerve. This test uses electrodes to check your eye movements. Your provider may use ENG to evaluate the problem in your vestibular system and determine the cause of your symptoms.


Labyrinthitis treatment depends on the root cause of the condition. For example, if the labyrinthitis is due to a virus, the doctor will likely prescribe antiviral medications. If bacteria is the culprit, then antibiotics will be given. Additionally, corticosteroids may be recommended to reduce nerve inflammation, and medications to control dizziness and nausea (such as diphenhydramine or fexofenadine) may be prescribed on a short-term basis.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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