Vestibular neuritis, also called otitis interna, vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis, is an infection of the inner ear. It can cause vertigo, dizziness and hearing loss. The condition is not contagious and is relatively common. People often experience a cold like illness a few days before the symptoms of vestibular neuritis appear.
The inner ear is involved in balance and hearing, so an infection in these structures results in symptoms such as dizziness, loss of hearing, loss of balance, and vertigo- the sensation that the room is spinning. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, ear pain, ringing in your ears, fluid or pus coming from the ear, changes in vision, headaches and even fever. The symptoms can range from very mild, to severe, where people are unable to move as the dizziness is so unpleasant.
Around half of vestibular neuritis cases are caused by a viral infection, such as the cold or flu virus that has spread to the inner ears. Bacterial vestibular neuritis is less common and tends to be a more serious infection. These infections tend to originate from middle ear infections enter the inner ear via a tear in the thin layers of tissue that usually separate the structures in the ears.
Most cases of viral vestibular neuritis heal well on their own with a week or so. Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated will help with recovery. If you are experiencing vertigo, you should lie down and rest to avoid falling over. Try to avoid bright lights, alcohol and loud noises. Your doctor may prescribe you a short course a medication to help with the dizziness and to help reduce nausea. Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. If you have any further queries about vestibular neuritis you can speak to a specialist ENT doctor who will be able to advise you further on the condition.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.