Labyrinthitis is an infection of the labyrinth, a portion of the inner ear. Inflammation of the eighth cranial nerve (vestibulocochlear nerve) is also possible. Infection of these induces vertigo, hearing loss, and other ailments. These signs fade away in the majority of people. It’s a rare occurrence. Usually, just one ear is affected.
The labyrinth is a network of fluid-filled tubes and sacs found in the eardrum. The cochlea is a sound-processing organ located inside the inner ear. The vestibular organs collect movement and spatial input. All of these factors contribute to a sense of equilibrium. This data is sent from the inner ear to the brain via the eighth cranial nerve.
Whenever a nerve or the labyrinth becomes affected, it becomes inflammatory and irritating. This can cause it to malfunction. It may result in unilateral hearing loss. The brain must now analyze the message that differs between the standard and diseased nerves. This produces vertigo.
The inner ear controls hearing and balance often referred to as the labyrinth. The labyrinth is divided into two sections:
- Sound vibrations are converted into nerve impulses that flow to the brain by the cochlea, a little snail-shaped organ.
- The vestibular system is a sophisticated semicircular canal that helps the body stay balanced by delivering feedback about its spatial direction.
The vestibulocochlear nerve connects the cochlea to the vestibular system, which sends data to the brain. Labyrinthitis is an eardrum inflammation. It produces irritation in this portion of the ear, which can alter the tissues and impair the transmission of sensory input from the ear to the brain. This interruption can cause lightheadedness, vertigo, and perhaps even hearing loss.
Viral infections most commonly cause labyrinthitis. However, it can also be caused by bacteria. Although both conditions can generate comparable indications, bacterial labyrinthitis is usually more severe than viral labyrinthitis. Because the therapies for the two are so dissimilar, it’s critical to acquire the correct diagnosis from a specialist.
What Are the Symptoms?
Labyrinthitis can make you feel dizzy as well as impact your hearing. You could have more severe symptoms, such as vertigo. This is when you or the inside of your mind feels like it’s spinning. Other signs and symptoms could include:
- Pixelated vision.
- Feeling unsteady and on the verge of collapsing.
- You’re dizzy or floaty.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Hearing loss or ringing in your ears
Symptoms can strike suddenly. If you rise one morning, for example, you might see them. This can be not very comforting. Contact your health care provider or go to the ER straight away if you feel woozy or have problems with your coordination or eyesight.
This is a more prevalent ailment than bacterial infections. However, physicians are less knowledgeable about it. There appears to be a link between some viruses—measles, mumps, hepatitis, and herpes forms that induce cold sores, chickenpox, or shingles.
When you have viral labyrinthitis, only one ear is usually affected. It could finish swiftly and appear to vanish. It can, however, reappear at any time.
This can occur in two distinct ways: firstly, bacteria from a middle ear infection produce toxins that enter the inner ear, causing irritation and edema. Secondly, an inflammation in the bones that enclose the inner ear might produce toxins that induce similar signs.
It can be caused by a persistent or recurrent middle ear infection.
Germs invading the labyrinth from outside the ear cause a more severe and unusual bacterial labyrinthitis. This form of infection can be caused by bacterial meningitis.
Diagnosis and tests
Your doctor will examine you and ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They may also conduct tests to evaluate your hearing, balance, and other neurological system functioning.
What tests will be performed to determine the presence of labyrinthitis?
Your professional medical needs to rule out various illnesses that exhibit similar symptoms to labyrinthitis. They can do so by administering tests such as:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test captures high-resolution images within your body using radio waves and strong magnets. To rule out stroke, your doctor may employ MRI.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG). The electrical impulses of your heart are monitored throughout this procedure. An EKG can rule out cardiovascular issues.
- Vestibular Test Battery. The balancing part of your labyrinth/vestibulocochlear nerve is evaluated with this series of tests. Eye movements are monitored using electrodes in this examination. Your doctor may utilize ENG to assess your vestibular system and discover the source of your problems.
Treatment and medication solutions
Rest, fluids, and, if the vertigo is severe, vestibular suppressants including meclizine or Valium (diazepam) for a short time are recommended as therapeutic therapies for viral labyrinthitis. Moreover, nausea and vomiting are frequently associated with spinning vertigo, and drugs can help alleviate these symptoms.
Individuals with labyrinthitis should avoid taking vestibular psychotropic drugs after the early stage of spinning vertigo has passed, unless there is still some disorientation or instability. They should instead begin undertaking vestibular (balance) exercises and resume as many routine activities as feasible.
In bacterial labyrinthitis, powerful antibiotics are required, as well as supportive therapies such as intravenous hydration and anti-vertiginous and anti-nausea drugs. Individuals with bacterial labyrinthitis ought to have a CT scan and MRI of the ear as soon as feasible after recuperation. If they choose, cochlear implantation is as quickly as before the inner ear coagulates, making it extremely hard or problematic to insert. The hearing will almost certainly be restored.
Based on your symptoms, your physician might recommend the following drugs:
- Medicines to control nausea and vomiting, such as prochlorperazine
- Medications to alleviate lightheadedness, such as meclizine or scopolamine
- Sedatives, such as Valium
- Antiviral drugs
Natural Treatments for Labyrinthitis
- Excess usage of alcohol, weariness, allergens, smoking, stress and certain drugs are all activities that can exacerbate your disease.
- Antihistamines are available over-the-counter.
- Get adequate rest, particularly if you’re experiencing vertigo.
- Discuss any potential drugs with your physician.
- Try vestibular rehabilitative treatment, a type of physiotherapy that might assist you in adapting to and correcting your symptoms.
Benzodiazepines, antiemetics, antibiotics, and corticosteroids are some of the other treatments for labyrinthitis.
Most individuals, particularly those with bacterial labyrinthitis, recover completely with suitable therapy. Labyrinthitis usually takes a few weeks to heal.
An individual suffering from labyrinthitis should relax and refrain from making rapid head movements. Because this illness can impair a person’s balance and agility, it’s also essential to avoid driving and handling hazardous machinery when suffering from it.
During a vertigo attack, remain relaxed and avert needless motion. During an attack, bright lighting and television or computer screens should be avoided. Instead, sit down somewhere peaceful and wait for it to subside.
If you have vertigo, disorientation, loss of balance, or other labyrinthitis signs, seek medical help as soon as possible. While the cause may be simple, it may be significant and require immediate medical attention. Labyrinthitis is a clinical diagnosis based on signs from your health information, checkup, and diagnostic tests—there is no specific test to verify the condition.
There are, luckily, methods for controlling your symptoms. If you have any residual effects, speak with your healthcare physician while you recuperate to receive rehabilitation and treatment for any concerns that continue.