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Acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis): Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis)

Acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, as the name suggests is a sudden inflammation of vestibular nerve and/or labyrinth. Labyrinth is part of the inner ear and is responsible for maintaining the body balance. The vestibular nerve carries signals from the inner ear including labyrinth to the brain.

Acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis): Incidence, age and sex

Acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis is a disease of adults, more frequent in the third and fourth decade. No sex predilection is observed.

Signs and symptoms of acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis): Diagnosis

The signs and symptoms of acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis may vary from mild to severe. In most cases, the symptoms subside within 7 to 10 days. Clinical symptoms like giddiness, nausea and vomiting are generally seen. This giddiness is described by patients as feeling of spinning of surroundings which worsens on moving the head. Some patients may also complain of pain in the ears. This disorder is accompanied by fever, headache and nystagmus. Occasionally a small swelling behind the ears may be noted.

Causes and prevention of acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis)

The underlying cause of this disorder is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve or the inner ear. In some people, even a common cold may precede this inflammation. Meningitis and blunt trauma to the ear are some other infrequent factors which may lead to incidence of acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis.

Acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis): Complications

The complications of acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis are uncommon but may crop up in a few resistant cases. Partial or complete hearing loss on the affected side can occur in rare cases.

Acute vestibular neuronitis (Labyrinthitis): Treatment

This condition can be easily diagnosed due to the presence of typical clinical features. Steroidal medications are quite effective in the treatment of acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis. The patients may also be recommended medications for vomiting and vertigo to provide them symptomatic relief. Moreover, it is imperative to identify the underlying causes and treat accordingly.