Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection. It causes a deep structure inside your ear called the labyrinth to become inflamed, affecting your hearing and balance. It may be due to a viral or a bacterial infection.


  • Viral labyrinthitis
    • It’s been thought that Viral labyrinthitis is caused when viruses causing common colds or flu spreads to the inner ear.
  • Bacterial labyrinthitis
    • Bacterial Labyrinthitis is rarer and is likely to be a more serious condition.


  • Common Symptoms
    • Dizziness
    • hearing loss (mild to total hearing loss)
    • vertigo – the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving.
  • Other symptoms include:
    • Tinnitus( ringing or humming in your ear)
    • Ear discharge
    • ear pain
    • Fever
    • changes in vision
    • mild headaches


  • Physician may do/request:
    • History & Physical Exam
      • Ask about your symptoms and past health
      • Look in your ears with a lighted device called an otoscope
    • Hearing tests
      • Rinne & Weber Tuning fork tests – helps your doctor know which kind of hearing loss you have
    • Further testing
      • Further testing is usually only required if you have additional symptoms that suggest you may have a more serious condition. Symptoms can include:
    • severe headache
    • mental confusion
    • slurred speech
    • weakness or paralysis on one side of your body

These tests can include:

  • lumbar puncture – Sample of cerebrospinal fluid is taken with a needle from the patient’s spine and analysed
  • CT scan – to give a three-dimensional picture of your brain
  • MRI scan – to give a detailed image of your brain
  • blood tests



  • Benzodiazepines- reduce activity inside your central nervous system. This makes the brain less likely to be affected by the abnormal signals coming from your vestibular system. Long-term use of benzodiazepines is not recommended because they can be highly addictive if used for long periods.
  • Antiemetics- may be prescribed if you’re experiencing nausea and vomiting.It may also be used to treat the symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. It may be considered as an alternative treatment to benzodiazepines.
  • Corticosteroids- may be recommended if your symptoms are particularly severe. They are often effective at reducing inflammation.
  • Antibiotics- may be given if the cause of the patient’s labyrinthitis is confirmed as bacterial. Depending on the severity of the infection, the patient may be prescribed in the form of tablets/capsules(oral), or in the injectable form(intravenous).

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