Labyrinthitis

  • Alternative Names

    Bacterial labyrinthitis; Serous labyrinthitis; Neuronitis - vestibular; Vestibular neuronitis; Viral neurolabyrinthitis; Vestibular neuritis


    Treatment

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

    • Antihistamines
    • Corticosteroids such as prednisone when symptoms are severe
    • Medicines such as compazine to control nausea and vomiting
    • Medicines to relieve dizziness such as meclizine or scopalamine
    • Sedative-hypnotics such as Valium

    Persistent balance problems may improve with physical therapy. To prevent worsening of symptoms during episodes of labyrinthitis, try the following:

    • Keep still and rest when symptoms occur.
    • Gradually resume activity.
    • Avoid sudden position changes.
    • Do not try to read when symptoms occur.
    • Avoid bright lights.

    You may need help walking when symptoms occur. Avoid hazardous activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after symptoms have disappeared.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (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 usually returns to normal. In some cases, hearing loss may be permanent.


    Complications
    • Injury to self or others during attacks of vertigo
    • Permanent hearing loss (rare)
    • Spread of inflammation to other ear areas or to the brain (rare)

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance, or other symptoms of labyrinthitis are present. Also call if hearing loss occurs.

    Urgent or emergency symptoms include double vision, weakness or paralysis, slurring of speech, convulsions, fainting, persistent vomiting, or vertigo accompanied by fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.