Labyrinthitis is swelling and irritation in the inner ear. It occurs in the labyrinth of the ear, usually effecting the nerve. The labyrinth is a series of fluid-filled tubes and sacs located in the inner ear. It may affect hearing, balance, and eye movement via the 8th cranial nerve.
Labyrinthitis is caused by damage or impairment of the labyrinth part of the cochlea. The cochlea is a fluid-filled tube containing nerve endings that transmit sound signals to the brain. Damage or impairment occur with:
Steroids (in limited situations) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—to help control inflammation
Antibiotics—to treat a bacterial infection
Antiviral drugs—to treat certain viruses, such as herpes
Without antibiotic treatment, labyrinthitis caused by a bacterial infection can lead to permanent hearing loss or balance problems.
Some steps to help you manage your symptoms include:
Rest by lying still with your eyes closed in a darkened room during acute attacks.
Avoid movement, especially sudden movement, as much as possible.
Resume normal activities gradually after the symptoms have cleared.
Vestibular Exercises (Vestibular Rehabilitation) TOP
Your doctor may suggest specific vestibular exercises. These exercises use a series of eye, head, and body movements to get the body used to moving without the sensation of spinning. You may work with a physical therapist to learn these.
In some cases, nausea and vomiting cannot be controlled. This can result in severe
dehydration. You may need hospitalization to receive fluids and nutrients through an IV. You may also need antiemetic medication.
Rarely, labyrinthitis may be caused by a break in the membranes between the outer and inner ear. Surgery to repair the break may be required. If a tumor is causing the condition, surgery may also be needed.