Labyrinthitis is one of the more severe disorders that can affect the human ear. The labyrinth, or inner part of the ear, is infected. Labyrinthitis can result in long-term balance problems and permanent hearing loss if it is not treated. Therefore, early detection and treatment of symptoms are critical.
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear condition characterized by labyrinthine inflammation. Hearing and balance are both under the control of the inner ear, or labyrinth. When the labyrinth or one of its nerves is swollen or irritated, hearing and balance may be affected. This is due to the brain's attempt to make sense of information that is incongruent between the information from the healthy labyrinth or nerve and the information from the infected labyrinth or nerve.
Symptoms of labyrinthitis appear unexpectedly and can last for many days. They frequently begin to diminish after that. However, a rapid shift or movement of the head may cause it to reappear. Some of the symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Loss of balance
- Nausea and vomiting
When to see a doctor?
If you have labyrinthitis symptoms, schedule an appointment to visit the doctor so that they can diagnose the underlying reason. The following list of signs and symptoms can indicate a more severe problem. Consider the following symptoms to be an emergency and seek medical attention immediately:
A virus mainly causes labyrinthitis; however, bacteria can also cause it. The most common causes include:
- Stomach viruses
- Viral infections of the inner ear
- Bronchitis or other respiratory illnesses
- Bacterial infections
- Herpes viruses, including the Epstein-Barr virus
Measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis, and polio can all cause labyrinthitis. This condition may be caused by bacterial meningitis or a head injury in some rare cases.
The medical provider must check out any other conditions because many show symptoms similar to labyrinthitis. To accomplish this, they may conduct the following tests:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Using radio waves and powerful magnets, this examination provides detailed images of the inside of the body. An MRI may be used by the doctor to check out the possibility of a stroke.
Electrocardiogram (ECG): Throughout this test, the heart's electrical activity is monitored. It helps to reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
These tests are designed to assess how effectively the labyrinth/vestibulocochlear nerve performs in terms of balance. The doctor or healthcare professional may perform ENG to diagnose a vestibular system disorder and establish the source of the symptoms.
The underlying cause of the condition determines the treatment for labyrinthitis. If a virus causes labyrinthitis, the doctor will most likely prescribe antiviral treatment. If bacteria are the cause, antibiotics will be administered. Corticosteroids may also be taken to minimize nerve inflammation.
Are there any home remedies for labyrinthitis?
Home remedies can help relieve the discomfort caused by labyrinthitis. Following are the home remedies:
- Over the ear, apply a warm compress
- To help cleanse the eustachian tube, gargle with warm salt water
- Don't smoke
- Limit alcohol intake
- Try mindfulness or meditation as stress-reduction strategies.
Usually, labyrinthitis patients fully recover in a few months once their symptoms have reduced after one to three weeks. In the interim, driving, working, or participating in sports may be difficult due to nausea and dizziness. One may attempt to reinstate these activities as one heals gradually. If the symptoms don't improve after several months, the doctor might decide to conduct more testing to check out other issues.
Labyrinthitis Care at Medicover
At Medicover hospitals, we have the most excellent and dedicated team of ENT who provide the finest care. Our ENT specialists are trained in regular ENT surgeries, microscopic ear surgery, endoscopic nasal and sinus surgery, and upper airway and esophageal endoscopic procedures. To deliver successful outcomes, treating ear, nose, and throat diseases in adults, children, and newborns requires a multidisciplinary strategy that includes teamwork with other departments.