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What is labyrinthitis?

Labyrinthitis is a condition that causes both hearing loss and dizziness and balance problems. It is sudden in onset and can be severe. Often, the ill feeling is present for days then it starts to get better. However, the symptoms at times can last for weeks.

What are the causes of labyrinthitis?

Doctors aren’t too sure what causes labyrinthitis. Possible causes include viral infections, meningitis, auto immune diseases and trauma. In a number of patients, we are unable to find the cause.

What are the symptoms of labyrinthitis?
  • Feeling like you are spinning, swaying, or tilting – This is a type of dizziness called “vertigo.” You might also feel like the room is moving around you.
  • Feeling like you might throw up (nausea)
  • Throwing up (vomiting)
  • Problems balancing and walking
  • Hearing loss in one ear
Are there tests of labyrinthitis?

There are no specific tests. However, the doctor will evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical examination. In order to rule out other conditions, the doctor might ask for a CT Scan or an MRI of the brain.

What are the treatment options of labyrinthitis?

The treatment depends on your symptoms, how long they have lasted, and what likely caused your labyrinthitis.

Your doctor might prescribe medicines that can:

  • Treat infections caused by a virus or bacteria
  • Reduce swelling around the nerves inside the brain
  • Treat symptoms of vertigo
  • Treat nausea and vomiting

Other methods of management include:

  • Rehabilitation by a therapist to help cope with your balance disorder
  • Hearing amplification strategies


The content on the Nairobi ENT website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.


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