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Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis – Symptoms & Recovery Stories

Infection with a germ (a viral infection) that affects the inner ear is the most prevalent cause of vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis. Vertigo is a common symptom of many illnesses, which is often accompanied by sickness (vomiting). The impression that you or your surroundings are moving is known as vertigo. As the infection clears, the symptoms usually fade and disappear within a few weeks. Medications may be used to assist alleviate symptoms. Some less prevalent causes may require a different approach and treatment.

What is the difference between labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis?

Labyrinthitis (pronounced “lab-uh-rin-THY-tus”) is a condition that affects the inner ear. It occurs when the labyrinth, a portion of the inner ear that aids with balance regulation, becomes bloated and inflamed.

Vestibular neuritis is a condition in which the vestibular nerve becomes inflamed. In the inner ear, the nerve is found. It transmits impulses from the inner ear to the brain that aid with balance.

Sudden vertigo can be caused by either condition’s inflammation. This gives you the sensation of spinning or whirling. Labyrinthitis can also induce ringing in the ears or temporary hearing loss.

Both disorders have symptoms and treatments that are comparable. If you have both abrupt vertigo and hearing loss, you should seek immediate medical attention to rule out a stroke.

Vestibular neuritis symptoms:

Vestibular neuritis symptoms includes:

  • Sudden, severe vertigo (spinning/swaying sensation)
  • Dizziness
  • Balance difficulties
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Concentration difficulties

Does vestibular neuritis show up on MRI?  No, the damage caused by vestibular neuritis is limited to nerves and neural cells.

1. Vertigo

Vertigo is the most common symptom. The impression that you or your surroundings are moving is known as vertigo. When you experience vertigo, you may feel as if the world is spinning around you and that you are losing your balance. You will frequently feel or be nauseous (vomit). If a viral infection is the cause (which is the most prevalent scenario), vertigo usually develops quickly. In comparison to the normal ear, the inflamed or injured labyrinth or vestibular nerve delivers contradicting signals to the brain, resulting in vertigo. Because your brain is perplexed by your head posture, it reacts by causing vertigo.

For the first few days, the vertigo might be severe and consistent, and all you have to do is lie down until the symptoms subside. If you lie down and close your eyes, the vertigo will be less acute, but it will not go away altogether. Sitting up, shifting your head, or moving around can make it worse. The vertigo is less strong in lesser cases, yet you feel shaky when moving or walking around.

Other symptoms:

If you have labyrinthitis, you may experience some slight hearing loss on the affected side.

Nystagmus. This is a ‘shaking’ or rotating action of the eyeballs from side to side. This may go unnoticed by you, but a doctor will search for it because it is common. (Nystagmus can be caused by vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis.) Other factors also have a role.)

Other viral infection symptoms include a sore throat, flu symptoms, or a cold.

An earache is a pain in the ear. This is not, however, a characteristic of viral vestibular neuritis or viral labyrinthitis. If you have ear pain, it could be a sign that you have a germ (bacteria) infection in your middle ear that has moved to your inner ear.

Viral vestibular neuritis or viral labyrinthitis symptoms might last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Symptoms may be severe for two to three weeks before gradually subsiding over several days. Before the symptoms resolve entirely, there may be some slight unsteadiness for 2-3 months.

Symptoms can, however, last for months or even years in a small percentage of instances. The viral infection will be gone in these circumstances, but the inflammation and damage caused by the infection may cause symptoms to continue.

Vestibular neuritis vs labyrinthitis:

The inner ear diseases of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis affect separate areas of the inner ear that are required for balance:

  1. Inflammation of the labyrinth – a maze of fluid-filled passages in the inner ear – is known as labyrinthitis.
  2. Vestibular neuritis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which transmits messages from the inner ear to the brain.

Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis have extremely similar symptoms.

Labyrinthitis, on the other hand, is the cause of hearing loss. This is because labyrinth inflammation impacts hearing but vestibular nerve irritation does not.

Vestibular neuritis and COVID:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the coronavirus 2 that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, with pneumonia being the most common and significant symptom. COVID-19 vaccine is a hot topic around the world due to the virus’s rapid dissemination and high fatality and morbidity rates.

Vestibular neuritis (VN) is an acute vestibular condition characterized by sudden and spontaneous vertigo caused by unilateral vestibular deafferentation, nausea or vomiting, and unsteadiness lasting days to weeks.

Etiologies include reactivation of latent type 1 herpes simplex virus, autoimmune diseases, and microvascular ischemia. The case of a 54-year-old man who acquired VN three days after receiving COVID-19 vaccine is given in this paper. There have been no reports of VN following COVID-19 or other viral illness vaccinations.

Although the link between VN and COVID-19 vaccination is unknown, doctors should be aware that VN can develop as a side effect of the vaccine (Trusted Source: 01 ).

Vestibular neuritis treatment:

Certain drugs, workouts, and dietary changes may be beneficial.


A doctor may prescribe: during the acute stage of vestibular neuritis:

  • Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine or meclizine
  • Antiemetics, such as promethazine or metoclopramide
  • Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or lorazepam

It is crucial to take these medications for 3 days  at most. Continued use can prevent the brain from compensating for the vertigo, and this can lead to ongoing vertigo.

Antiviral or antibiotic drugs may be prescribed by the doctor to treat any underlying infection.

Vestibular neuritis exercises

Vestibular rehabilitation may also be recommended by the doctor. This entails a series of exercises to help you regain your balance and lessen your vertigo.

The following exercises  can help:

  • Stand with your knees stretched slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Raise one hand straight up and stare at it with a slight tilt of the head.
  • Keep your attention on the raised hand as you bend at the waist.
  • Stretch the other hand down until it meets the other ankle while bending.

Swaying forward and backward is another exercise. To do it, follow these steps:

  • Stand tall and close your feet together.
  • Slowly rock backwards onto your heels, arms extended front for balance.
  • Then take a step forward, shifting your body’s center of gravity to your toes.
  • Arc your back slightly and press your hips forward, letting your arms drop by your sides.
  • Several times, make a back-and-forth transition.

Diet tips and other strategies:

To reduce or eliminate the symptoms of vestibular neuritis:

  • avoid foods and drinks that contain high levels of salt or sugar
  • avoid nicotine
  • remain hydrated
  • avoid alcohol
  • get rest

When the symptoms start to fade, it’s appropriate to try clear liquids, such as:

  • clear broths
  • gelatin-based deserts
  • flat ginger ale
  • sports drinks
  • water
  • coconut water
  • peppermint tea

What causes labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis?

Viral infections are the most prevalent cause of vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis, which can be caused by a systemic virus like influenza (‘the flu’) or herpes viruses, which cause chickenpox, shingles, and cold sores.

  • Flu
  • Cold
  • Rubella, a viral infection that can cause a rash, a fever, and body aches
  • mumps, a viral infection that can cause a fever, headaches, and body aches
  • Measles, a viral infection that can cause a rash, a high fever, and a cough
  • Chickenpox, a viral infection that can cause itchy, painful blisters
  • Shingles, a viral infection that develops from chickenpox and can cause a painful rash, a fever, and chills


Vestibular neuritis is usually diagnosed when other disorders have been ruled out.

They might begin by inquiring about any vertigo-related symptoms. Changes in hearing, for example, may indicate vestibular labyrinthitis, a related but distinct illness described further below.

Before diagnosing vestibular neuritis, the clinician may try to rule out other possible causes, such as:

  • Side effects of medications
  • A head injury
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Stroke
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Effects of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or some illegal drugs

Vestibular Neuritis Recovery Stories:

Over the next few weeks, most patients Vestibular Neuritis Recovery Stories make a sluggish but complete recovery when the severe symptoms subside (approximately three weeks). Some patients, however, may develop balance and dizzy issues that linger for months.


Vestibular neuritis frequently arises as a result of or in conjunction with a viral or bacterial illness. It causes dizziness, nausea, and vision and focus problems.

Vestibular neuritis symptoms are comparable to those of more serious illnesses that a doctor should rule out.

Vestibular neuritis usually goes away on its own, but medications, dietary modifications, and certain exercises can assist.

Written by Dr. Ozair (CEO of SignSymptom.com) as physician writers are physicians who write creatively in fields outside their practice of medicine.

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