Vestibular Neuritis is an infection or inflammation of the balance nerve between the inner ear balance system and the brain.

Difference between Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis

Labyrinthitis is an infection or inflammation of the entire inner ear. This causes severe dizziness and vertigo as well as hearing loss on one side.

Vestibular neuritis is an inflammation or infection of the balance nerve that carries balance signals from the inner ear to the brain. This causes similar symptoms of dizziness and vertigo but does not have hearing loss.

Causes of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis

The majority of cases are caused by a virus, although occasionally it may be bacterial in origin. Infections that are caused by a virus are due to the common cold or flu and infrequently cause hearing loss. Infections that are caused by bacteria affect both the hearing and balance with possibly irreversible severe consequences.

Symptoms of Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis

The primary symptom is a sudden onset of severe incapacitating vertigo with nausea and vomiting lasting 24-48 hours followed by seven to ten days of disequilibrium and motion-induced vertigo. Gradual improvement occurs but may take from six weeks to six months.

Treatment

Aggressive early treatment with appropriate medications can lessen the severity and duration of these dizzy symptoms and reduce the undesirable consequences. The drugs of choice for viral infections are steroids and anti-viral medications. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are used.