What is the difference between Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis?

What is the difference between Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis

Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis are two inner ear conditions that show a similar set of symptoms that are caused due to inflammation in the inner ear nerves but are slightly different from each other. Many people get confused between the two and consider it the same. Vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting are some of the common symptoms experienced by the majority of patients suffering from either of the conditions.

When a person experiences difficulty in maintaining balance due to inflammation or injury in the vestibular nerve which sends the sensory signals from the inner ear to the brain, it is known as vestibular neuritis. The interrupted signals sent to the brain affect the balance thus making a person feel dizzy all of a sudden.

Whereas the inner ear disorder that affects the person’s hearing ability along with affecting the balance due to inflammation in both the vestibular nerves and the cochlear nerve present in the inner ear is known as labyrinthitis.

In this article, we will share a detailed insight into Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis and what difference it holds between them. Let’s get started!

What Vestibular Neuritis?

The inner ear consists of the vestibular nerves which are responsible for sending sensory signals from the inner ear to the brain that regulates the body balance. An inflammation or disorder in any of the vestibular nerves is known as vestibular neuritis. The inflamed nerves result in sending interrupted messages to the brain thus making a person experience loss of equilibrium or feel dizzy all of a sudden.

Vestibular neuritis swells up the inflamed vestibular nerve making a person experience sudden bouts of vertigo spells. It takes up to 3-4 weeks for vestibular neuritis symptoms to subside completely. If the condition is severe, then a person may experience repeated episodes of vertigo spells for at least a month.

It can be diagnosed in anyone irrespective of age and gender, but the percentage of vestibular neuritis in children is rare.

It is advised to seek medical help immediately as soon as you start observing any vestibular neuritis symptoms. An expert neurologist will diagnose the condition closely by carrying various tests. He would suggest the right Vestibular Neuritis treatment to cure the condition and may prescribe certain vertigo medicines if you are experiencing vertigo spells quite frequently.

What is Labyrinthitis?

What is Labyrinthitis

The vestibular system present in the inner ear consists of vestibular nerves and the cochlear nerve, responsible for sending sensory signals to the brain to maintain body balance and hearing. The inflammation in any of the vestibular nerves and in the cochlear nerve responsible for maintaining balance and hearing is known as Labyrinthitis. A person suffering from Labyrinthitis experiences severe bouts of vertigo spells. Labyrinthitis can be caused due to a simple viral infection such as cold or flu. Apart from it, a middle ear infection that spreads in the inner ear is also responsible for causing labyrinthitis.

Apart from vertigo, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and so on are some of the common symptoms that come along with Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis. It is advised to consult an expert neurologist as soon as you start observing any labyrinthitis symptoms to get yourself diagnosed. Your doctor will examine your condition closely by seeking a complete medical history and by carrying various tests for labyrinthitis diagnosis.

Labyrinthitis is caused due to both viral and bacterial infections and shows similar sets of symptoms, but treatments of both cases are entirely different, so diagnosing it before suggesting any labyrinthitis treatment is a must for a doctor. He may prescribe you certain vertigo medicines to ease the condition along with the right labyrinthitis treatment and labyrinthitis exercises to control its symptoms.

Seeking medical assistance at the right time helps the patient to find relief within a few weeks and recover completely from such a condition within a month.

Symptoms of Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis

Both the inner ear conditions show some similar symptoms that appear abruptly and last for minutes to hours depending on the severity of the condition.

Some common Vestibular Neuritis symptoms:

  1. Sudden bouts of Vertigo spells that are quite severe
  2. Loss of equilibrium or dizziness
  3. Difficulty in maintaining balance or imbalance
  4. Nausea & vomiting
  5. Blurry vision
  6. Jumping vision due to movement in eyes
  7. Difficulty in concentration

Living with certain symptoms is not an easy task as it causes hindrance in daily chores and affects the quality of life. Seek medical help at the right time to prevent symptoms from getting intense and get the right vestibular neuritis treatment.

Some common Labyrinthitis symptoms:

Some common Labyrinthitis symptoms

  1. Blurry or jumping vision are the same symptoms of Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis
  2. Severe vertigo spells
  3. Feeling of lightheartedness
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Imbalance
  6. Ringing sensations in the inner ear known as tinnitus
  7. Loss of hearing ability

Symptoms of Labyrinthitis appear without any warning signs, it sounds scary but consulting a doctor at the right time prevents symptoms from triggering. Slight negligence on your part can make the symptoms worse.

Causes of Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis

Vestibular Neuritis: A simple viral infection can result in causing vestibular neuritis in patients.

Measles, flu, mononucleosis, rubella, mumps, shingles, chickenpox, etc. are some of the common viral infections that can lead to vestibular neuritis.

Labyrinthitis:  Respiratory infections like bronchitis, viral infections in the inner ear, stomach viruses, herpes viruses, bacterial infections including bacterial middle ear infections, infectious organisms are some of the common causes of labyrinthitis. Certain lifestyle habits like excessive smoking or drinking alcohol increase the risk of Labyrinthitis.

Treatment of Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis

Vestibular Neuritis treatment

Once you are diagnosed with vestibular neuritis caused due to a viral infection, your doctor will prescribe you certain antibiotics like diphenhydramine, meclizine, lorazepam, diazepam, etc. to ease various Vestibular Neuritis symptoms like dizziness & nausea. If the patient with vestibular neuritis is experiencing excess vomiting and becomes dehydrated because of it, then doctors may suggest IV fluids in some cases.

As we discuss “Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis” If the symptoms of Vestibular Neuritis do not seem to ease with certain medications then your doctor may suggest vestibular rehabilitation therapy to ease the symptoms and give some relief. The therapy is practiced under expert guidance for the right techniques and measures. Regular practice of vestibular neuritis exercises twice a day helps in showing effective results within a few days and alleviates symptoms sooner than you expect.

Labyrinthitis treatment

Labyrinthitis treatment

Once you are diagnosed with Labyrinthitis after undergoing various tests like VNG, CCG, SVV & DVA, your doctor may prescribe you certain medications to ease symptoms like dizziness and nausea. Sometimes doctors may even prescribe certain sedatives to keep anxiety levels in control.

Desloratadine (Clarinex), meclizine, diazepam, Corticosteroids, etc. are some of the medications prescribed by doctors to treat Labyrinthitis. He may even recommend Vestibular rehabilitation to achieve optimum results and central compensation if medications fail to show any improvement in the condition. It is advised to take care during the movement of the head when you are in the recovering phase as it may trigger the condition. The right Labyrinthitis treatment helps in easing vertigo spells within a few days whereas hearing imbalances and balance issues come to normal with time.

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