LABYRINTHITIS

Description

  • Inner ear infection
  • Irritation and swelling of the labyrinth (inner ear)
  • Can cause vertigo and hearing loss

Symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tinnitus, which is characterized by a ringing or buzzing in the ear
  • Loss of hearing in the high-frequency range in one ear
  • Difficulty focusing the eyes
  • Fluid or pus leaking out of the ears
  • Mild headaches
  • A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Feeling of pressure inside the ear

Causes

  • Respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis
  • Viral infections of the inner ear
  • Stomach viruses
  • Herpes viruses
  • Bacterial infections, including bacterial middle ear infections
  • Infectious organisms, such as the organism that causes Lyme disease

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Drinking large quantities of alcohol
  • Having a history of allergies
  • Being habitually fatigued
  • Extreme stress
  • Taking some prescription medications
  • Taking over-the-counter medications (especially aspirin)
  • Recent viral illness

Diagnostic Tests

  • A physical examination
  • Neurological evaluation
  • Hearing tests
  • Blood tests
  • CT or MRI Scan of the head
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Electronystagmography (ENG)

Treatment

Self-help: (during vertigo)

  • During an attack, lie still in a comfortable position
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid bright lights
  • Try to cut out noise
  • Avoid television, computer screens
  • Avoid quick changes in position or sudden movements
  • Sit still during a vertigo attack

Medications:

  • Prescription antihistamines
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines
  • Medications that reduce dizziness and nausea
  • Sedatives
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antiviral medicines

Medications

  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Meclozine (Antivert)
  • Diazepam (Vallum)
  • Prednisone
  • Scopolamine (Transderm-Scop)
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine)

Lifestyle Management

  • Co-ordinate the hand and eye movements
  • Improve balance and walking ability
  • Improve strength and fitness
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid going to places with loud noises