Reflections

What Is Labyrinthitis?

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear canals.

People keep asking me questions about this stuff and I really did not know the answers. So, I did a little research and came up with a few answers. Seems that there is a lot of info about labyrinthitis but there is no definitive answer on how long it takes to get over it. Seems that you just have to wait it out!!!!!

Home

WHAT IS LABYRINTHITIS?

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear canals. The labyrinth is made up of 3 semicircular canals located deep inside the inner ear that help control your balance. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Other causes include bacterial infection, head injury, allergies, and certain medicines. Sometimes no cause can be found.

The main symptom of labyrinthitis is vertigo, a spinning or whirling sensation you feel although neither you nor your surroundings are moving. Vertigo is not the same as feeling dizzy. Dizziness is feeling unsteady or lightheaded, while vertigo is a sensation of whirling or spinning. Symptoms of dizziness and vertigo may be caused by many conditions other than labyrinthitis. With labyrinthitis, the vertigo begins suddenly, without warning, and often occurs 1 to 2 weeks after you've had the flu or a cold or other viral or bacterial infection. The sudden onset of vertigo may be severe enough to cause vomiting (I did that for over five hours!!!!!) and nausea. Vertigo gradually goes away over a few days to weeks, although sudden head movement can cause vertigo symptoms for a month or longer.

You may have hearing loss and a roaring sound in your ears (tinnitus). Rarely—and generally only if the labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial infection—the hearing loss may be permanent.

Labyrinthitis usually goes away on its own once the infection has healed, which normally requires several weeks. If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics will be prescribed. Viral infections cannot be cured with antibiotics.

Medications may also be used to control nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo.

Patients with labyrinthitis should rest in bed for three to five days until the acute dizziness subsides. Patients who are dehydrated by repeated vomiting may need intravenous fluid replacement. In addition, patients are advised to avoid driving or similar activities for four to six weeks after the acute symptoms subside, because they may have occasional dizzy spells during that period. Assistance with walking may be needed during attacks. Avoid hazardous activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until one week after symptoms have disappeared.

Most patients with labyrinthitis recover completely, although it often takes five to six weeks for the vertigo to disappear completely and the patient's hearing to return to normal. In a few cases the hearing loss is permanent.