An inner ear infection that disturbs a person’s balance and can even lead to hearing issues is known as Labyrinthitis. It can affect a person of any age and gender and can develop in anybody at any point in life. The inner ear consists of two vestibular nerves that are responsible for sending signals to the brain and control balance. Inflammation to any of the nerves causes inner ear disorder, which is termed as Labyrinthitis.
Common cold, flu, viral infections, ear infection, etc. can trigger Labyrinthitis. Dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, vertigo, etc. are some of the common symptoms that indicate the onset of such an ailment.
Vertigo can make the life of a person difficult as it can interfere with daily chores and make it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. Vertigo is referred to as a spinning sensation, where a person feels moving when in reality he is actually still. Certain medications and right exercises and home remedies help in getting relief from vertigo.
The inflammation in the inner ear damages the vestibulocochlear nerve, which is responsible for sending the sensory signals to the brain from the inner ear.
The labyrinth consists of two main parts, the cochlea & the vestibular system. The cochlea is responsible for hearing whereas the Vestibular nerve controls balance. Thus Labyrinthitis can lead to both hearing loss and causes disequilibrium or balance issues in a person leading to vertigo.
Consulting an expert neurologist will help you to ease out the issue by diagnosing the underlying cause. The right Labyrinthitis treatment and medications for any sort of ear infection will help in alleviating the symptoms of the condition. The prescribed medications will help in controlling the Labyrinthitis symptoms in a patient. It has been noticed patients recover completely from such an ailment within a month or two if the condition is diagnosed and treated on time. With the right Labyrinthitis treatment, patients start observing the change in a health condition within a week or two.
What causes Labyrinthitis?
Labyrinthitis can occur at any age in a person. Viral infections are the most common cause of such a condition. Common cold and flu that spreads to the inner ear and triggers the condition. Bacterial infections can trigger the condition even more and are more severe than viral infections. Both show similar symptoms in a patient, but the treatment of the underlying cause is entirely different. A proper diagnosis by an expert medical professional is recommended to treat the underlying cause. There are various other causes other than bacterial and viral infections that cause Labyrinthitis in a patient. Other potential causes that lead to such a condition are:
- Bronchitis is a respiratory illness that sometimes leads to Labyrinthitis in a patient.
- Viral infections in the inner ear
- Stomach Viruses
- Herpes Viruses
- Smoking habits leads to Labyrinthitis
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Family history of such a disease
- Extreme stress and anxiety conditions
- Side effects of certain medications like aspirin
- Head or ear injury
- BPPV vertigo
Signs & symptoms
If a person is suffering from Labyrinthitis, various symptoms start emerging in a patient, which is quite noticeable and indicates such a condition. The initial symptoms of Labyrinthitis begin quickly and show its intense signs during the initial days. With time, the symptoms of such an ailment start diminishing after certain duration. The symptoms can arise if sudden movements and jerks of the head are practiced by patients of Labyrinthitis.
Some common signs and symptoms that indicate Labyrinthitis:
- Bouts of Vertigo- Dizzy spells where a person experiences a spinning sensation that lasts for hours to days.
- Loss of hearing ability in the affected ear.
- Tinnitus (a ringing, buzzing or hissing sound in an affected ear).
- Disequilibrium or unsteadiness
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Difficulty in focusing your eyes
- Mild headaches
- Sometimes a permanent hearing loss
These symptoms may last for weeks, days or months depending on the severity of the condition. The symptoms may come and go and show its worst side and trigger the situation by moving the head or sitting up suddenly. Taking care and avoiding activities that involve risk should be completely avoided in such a condition. Labyrinthitis is curable if treated right. It’s a rare case where a condition lasts for a lifetime.
Treatment for Labyrinthitis
As soon as the person starts experiencing certain symptoms that indicate the onset of Labyrinthitis, consulting an expert neurologist is recommended as soon as possible, to diagnose the cause. Your doctor may advise you on the right Labyrinthitis treatment and prescribe medications after diagnosing the underlying cause of Labyrinthitis. If the case is not that complex, your doctor may advise certain drugs like meclizine to reduce dizziness and nausea in a patient or recommend certain sedatives like diazepam to ease the anxiety if the symptoms are more severe. A short course of medications is prescribed by doctors, which is not more than three days to treat the condition.
Labyrinthitis that is caused due to bacterial infection can be treated well with prescribed antibiotics. If the medications don’t work on a patient suffering from Labyrinthitis, doctors may suggest Vestibular rehabilitation therapy to achieve optimum results. It involves a set of physical exercises that helps in improving the balance equilibrium and reduces dizziness to a greater extent. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy can be customized by doctors as per the needs and requirements of the patients. An expert physical therapist would help the patient in performing vestibular rehabilitation exercises at home while monitoring it closely for the necessary modifications.