Labyrinthitis Treatment Overview
Symptoms of Labyrinthitis include:
- Loss of balance
- Spinning sensation
- Hearing loss
Initially the symptoms may be quite severe, but after about a week they typically lessen in severity, although in some cases they may last for a longer duration.
Labyrinthitis occurs when either a bacterial or viral infection such as the common cold or influenza virus develops, though a viral infection is far more common in occurrence.
The labyrinth of the inner ear is made up of two parts; the cochlea which is responsible for hearing as its function is to relay sounds to the central nervous system, and the vestibular system, a complicated group of fluid filled channels, which are responsible for the body’s sense of balance.
Watch a short video on how Labyrinthitis develops here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNMa3lNcdfk
Who is most susceptible to Labyrinthitis?
The condition occursmostly in those who have recently or are currently experiencing a bacterial or viral infection in the inner ear, particularly adults aged between 30 and 60 years old. It is a form of vertigo, and a UK study showed that out of one in six adults who had visited their doctor with the symptoms of vertigo, were in fact suffering from Labyrinthitis.
The main Labyrinthitis treatment involves a combination of bed rest to recover from the symptoms and prescribed medication to suppress the unpleasant symptoms and clear up or control any infection that may be present. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy may also be prescribed in cases of chronic Labyrinthitis.
Medications that may be prescribed to treat Labyrinthitis include:
If the symptoms of Labyrinthitis are caused by a bacterial infection then antibiotic tablets, capsules, or injections will be prescribed to clear it up.
If the cause of Labyrinthitis is found to be viral in nature then instead of antibiotics which have no effect on viruses, a course of antiviral medication may be prescribed instead. Antivirals are less effective than antibiotics however, and their power to limit the effects of the symptoms of Labyrinthitis and speed up recovery time is somewhat limited.
These drugs work by reducing activity in the Central Nervous System, which in turn means that abnormal signals sent from the inner ear are less likely to have an impact on the brain.
Used to suppress the unpleasant symptoms of nausea and vomiting, these drugs are used to treat the symptoms of vertigo and dizziness induced by attacks of Labyrinthitis. One example of a drug from this group that may be prescribed is Prochloroperazine.
These are usually only prescribed when symptoms are extremely severe and work by reducing the inflammation that is causing the discomfort. One such example is Prednisolone, though it is not without side effects, which can include insomnia and a heightened sensation of anxiety.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
This is an especially effective Labyrinthitis treatment for sufferers, as it works by retraining the brain to interpret the abnormal signals sent from the inner ear and compensate for them.
The therapy consists of an individually tailored series of exercises prescribed for each patient after a full assessment by a vestibular specialist. The exercises help to improve hand and eye coordination, improve balance, and enable sufferers to walk more steadily on their feet during acute attacks of Labyrinthitis symptoms, restoring something of a normal life to those afflicted by this uncomfortable disorder.
You can watch a video to learn more about Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy here:
Helpful advice and tips
If you are suffering the symptoms of this unpleasant disorder, it’s important to ensure you stay properly hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water little and often to maintain hydration levels as being dehydrated can severely worsen the symptoms of this condition.
Avoid nicotine, as this can inflame the inner ear and constrict blood vessels, as well as suppress the immune system, preventing it from being able to fight infection to its fullest capacity.
Other things to avoid include excess caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate as these substances are not only hazardous to your body’s general health when consumed in large quantities, but can also worsen the symptoms of Labyrinthitis.
Also try to steer clear of bright lights which can induce the onset of Labyrinthitis symptoms and cause migraine headaches and a feeling of disorientation and confusion.
If you are suffering from Labyrinthitis, try and cut out loud and disruptive noises and do avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary stress, as it can put a further strain on your already stressed immune system.
Watch Rebecca’s story, featuring a sufferer talking about her experience with labyrinthitis treatment here: