Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an ear disorder that involves irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the inner ear.

The ear consists of external, middle, and inner structures. The eardrum and the 3 tiny bones conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea.

CAUSES

There are many causes of labyrinthitis. In rare cases, it occurs after an ear infection (otitis media) or an upper respiratory infection. It may also occur after an allergycholesteatoma, or taking certain drugs that are dangerous to the inner ear.

During labyrinthitis, the parts of the inner ear become irritated and inflamed. This interferes with their ability to help you balance and hear.

The following raise your risk for labyrinthitis:

  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • History of allergies
  • Recent viral illness, respiratory infection, or ear infection
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Use of certain prescription or nonprescription drugs (especially aspirin)

SYMPTOMS

EXAMS AND TESTS

A complete physical and nervous system (neurological) exam should be done. An ear examination may not reveal any problems.

Usually, other tests are not needed to diagnose layrinthitis. Tests will be done to rule out other causes of your symptoms. These may include:

TREATMENT

Labyrinthitis usually goes away within a few weeks. Treatment helps to reduce symptoms, such as spinning sensations. Medications that may reduce symptoms include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Medicines such as compazine to control nausea and vomiting
  • Medicines to relieve dizziness, such as meclizine or scopalamine
  • Sedative-hypnotics such as Valium

To prevent your symptoms from getting worse during episodes of vertigo, try the following:

  • Keep still and rest when you have symptoms.
  • Avoid sudden movements or position changes.
  • Slowly resume activity. You may need help walking when you lose your balance during attacks.
  • Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during attacks. Rest during severe episodes, and slowly increase your activity.
  • Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after your symptoms disappear. A sudden dizzy spell during these activities can be dangerous.

PROGNOSIS

If you have severe vomiting, you may be admitted to the hospital.

Severe symptoms usually go away within a week. Most patients are completely better within 2 to 3 months. Continued dizziness is more likely to last in older patients.

Hearing loss may be permanent.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

  • Injury to self or others during attacks of vertigo
  • Permanent hearing loss (rare)

WHEN TO CONTACT A DOCTOR

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance, or other symptoms of labyrinthitis
  • You have hearing loss

Call Emergency if you have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Convulsions
  • Double vision
  • Fainting
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Vertigo that occurs with a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weakness or paralysis

PREVENTION

There is no known way to prevent labyrinthitis.

 

Sourse: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001054.htm

Information presented on this website is for general use. It intended to address issues of your concern. It is not intended to serve as a basis for professional diagnosis and treatment of diseases or health conditions.
 
Should you have health problems we suggest you to seek assistance from a licensed healthcare professional and medical organization. In the case of a medical emergency, please call emergency services immediately.