Labyrinthitis is inflammation of the structures of the inner ear.
It can be caused by a viral or, less commonly, a bacterial infection. Bacterial labyrinthitis may begin after a middle ear infection. It may lead to a serious infection of the lining of the brain (meningitis).
Symptoms last a few days to a week. They include dizziness and a sensation of spinning or whirling (vertigo) that may be severe enough to cause nausea or vomiting. Labyrinthitis may cause hearing loss that is usually temporary.
Labyrinthitis usually goes away on its own. Antibiotics will be prescribed if the cause is a bacterial infection. Other medicines, such as those that reduce nausea and dizziness, may be needed for symptoms of vertigo.
Last Revised: November 16, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.