Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout
About Your Diagnosis
Labrynthitis may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, but most episodes have no known cause. Labyrinthitis results in a functional disturbance of the balance mechanism in your inner ear. It is often associated with hearing loss, vertigo (a subjective impression of movement in space or a sense of objects moving around the individual), loss of balance, and nausea.

Living With Your Diagnosis
The symptoms of labyrinthitis usually do not include vomiting; however, if the symptoms are particularly severe or prolonged, vomiting may occur. The symptoms may develop suddenly and last for several days. After most acute attacks, the vertigo usually subsides in several days. Hearing returns to normal in most patients. Partial recovery of hearing may occur in others; however, if hearing is likely to return, it generally returns slowly within 10–14 days. Labyrinthitis may follow a middle ear infection. Bacteria may enter the inner ear and, although rare, the infection may even spread to the space surrounding the brain, resulting in meningitis. Bacterial labyrinthitis may result in complete and permanent hearing loss.

The treatment of labyrinthitis depends upon determining the source of the problem, if possible. Bacterial labyrinthitis is treated with antibiotic medications and sometimes requires surgical drainage of the infection. All cases of labyrinthitis are also treated with medications to alleviate symptoms. These may include an anti-inflammatory agent and a medication to minimize the vertigo. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce or stop the nausea and vomiting that may be associated with labyrinthitis.

The DOs
• Rest in bed to reduce the symptoms associated with motion.
• Take your medications as prescribed. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, be certain to complete the entire prescription to effectively clear up the infection.

The DON’Ts
• Avoid activities that require good balance.
• Do not drive until you are entirely symptom free off of medication.
•Avoid using alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine because they may worsen your symptoms

When to Call Your Doctor
• If your symptoms suddenly worsen.
• If you have a severe headache or a stiff, sore neck associated with your symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
• If you have a fever in addition to your other symptoms, call immediately.
• If your vomiting is not controlled by the medications you were given.
• If you have any problems associated with your medication.

Vestibular Disorders Association