Labyrinthitis – Pain in the Internal Ear: Causes, Symptoms, Home Remedies and Treatment

It is an inflammation of the structure of the inner ear called the labyrinth.

Sometimes called vestibular neuritis, it is a disorder that affects the labyrinth of the ear and causes it to become inflamed. The labyrinth is a delicate structure that lies deep within the inner ear.

The term labyrinthitis refers to other causes of inner ear problems that do not have inflammation because these problems produce similar symptoms.

We have a labyrinth in each of our inner ears, enclosed in a thick bone near the base of his skull. As the name implies, the labyrinth is a labyrinth of interconnected channels and channels filled with fluid.

Half of the labyrinth, the cochlea, has the shape of a snail shell. Send information about sounds to the brain. The other half resembles a gyroscope with 3 semicircular canals (which have liquid and ciliated cells) connected to an open cavern or vestibule, along with sac-like structures, the utricle and the saccule, these organs provide information about the movements of head.

When inflamed, it can affect hearing and balance. Labyrinthitis can occur once, multiple times or a persistent condition. This inflammation causes damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve, which causes dizziness or dizziness and hearing loss.

The part of the labyrinth hall sends information to the brain regarding the position and movement of its head. Any disturbance in the vestibule can lead to information failing in your brain. The signals travel from the labyrinth to the brain through the vestibulocochlear nerve.

The vestibulocochlear nerve is the eighth cranial nerve and has two sections. One, the cochlear nerve that transmits signals with respect to hearing and the other, the vestibular nerve that sends signals with respect to balance.

The brain integrates the signals transmitted by the vestibular nerves of both ears to maintain balance. Labyrinthitis disrupts both the cochlear and vestibular components of the inner ear.

Therefore, it affects the auditory and balance capabilities of the person, causing hearing loss and imbalance or vertigo.

The eyes also send positioning information to your brain. When the information in the maze and eyes do not match, the brain has trouble interpreting what is happening.

This misinterpretation often leads to a feeling that you are spinning (vertigo) or a feeling that you are moving when in fact you are standing still. Feelings of dizziness (nausea and vomiting) often follow.

Sometimes you will experience hearing loss or abnormal sounds, such as a high-pitched or low-pitched buzzing (tinnitus).

What causes Labyrinthitis?

Many times, you can not determine the cause of the labyrinthitis. Often, the condition follows a viral illness such as a cold or the flu. Viruses, or your body’s immune response to them, can cause inflammation that causes labyrinthitis.

In general, labyrinthitis occurs in adults who are between 30 and 60 years old. Of these, 30% have a common cold before developing the disease.

Viral labyrinthitis is the most common type, especially in adults. On the other hand bacterial labyrinthitis is not so common. However, children under the age of two are more vulnerable to the development of the bacterial form.

Other possible causes are these:

  • Trauma or injury to the head or ear (similar to a concussion).
  • Bacterial infections: if they are found in nearby structures, such as the middle ear, these infections can cause the following:
  • Liquid to collect in the labyrinth (serous labyrinthitis).
  • Liquid to directly invade the labyrinth, causing labyrinthitis that produces pus (suppurative).
  • Allergies
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • A benign tumor of the middle ear.

Certain medications taken in high doses:

  • Furosemide (Lasix).
  • Aspirin.
  • Some intravenous antibiotics.
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) at toxic levels.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

With this condition, small stones or calcified particles fall off in the vestibule and bounce. The particles trigger nerve impulses that the brain interprets as movement.

The most serious causes of vertigo may resemble labyrinthitis, but they rarely occur.

  • Tumors at the base of the brain.
  • Stroke or insufficient blood supply to the brainstem or nerves surrounding the labyrinth.

What are the symptoms of Labyrinthitis?

  • Vertigo.
  • Nausea.
  • He retched.
  • Loss of balance
  • Other possible symptoms
  • A slight headache
  • Tinnitus (a buzzing noise or a hurried noise).
  • Hearing loss.

These symptoms are often caused or worse by moving the head, sitting, turning or looking up.

Symptoms can last for days or even weeks depending on the cause and severity.

The symptoms may reappear, therefore, be careful with driving, working at heights or handling heavy machinery for at least 1 week from the time the symptoms end.

Rarely, the condition can last a lifetime, as with Meniere’s disease. This condition usually involves tinnitus and hearing loss with vertigo. In rare cases, it can be debilitating.

When should I call the doctor?

  • You feel dizzy just by moving your head or body.
  • Occasionally he feels nauseous and vomiting.
  • You have a buzzing or a rushing noise in your ear.
  • You have a sudden hearing loss.

When to go to the hospital

  • He can not eat, drink or take medication due to vomiting.
  • Your hearing progressively gets worse.
  • You have a severe headache or lethargy.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have earache.
  • He recently injured his head or his ear.
  • His dizziness does not stop after a few minutes.
  • You develop double vision.
  • You develop speech problems.
  • Your arm or leg suddenly becomes numb or weak.
  • The muscles in your face weaken or become paralyzed.
  • Your gait (ability to walk normally) is affected.

What are the home remedies for Labyrinthitis?

  • Lie still in a comfortable position, often on your side.
  • Reduce your salt and sugar intake.
  • Avoid chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Try to create a low noise and low stress environment.

Talk to your doctor about certain maneuvers or exercises (Brandt and Daroff exercises and Epley maneuver) that can speed your recovery.

Exercises that improve the condition:

These positions try to reorganize tiny particles inside your ear and / or desensitize it to its effects:

  1. Sit on the edge of your bed near the middle, with your legs hanging down.
  2. Turn your head 45 ° to your right side.
  3. Lie down quickly on the left side, with your head still turned, and touch the bed with the head part behind the ear.
  4. Hold this position and each subsequent position for approximately 30 seconds.
  5. Sit again
  6. Turn your head quickly 45 ° to your left side and lie on your right side.
  7. Sit again
  8. Do 6-10 repetitions, 3 times per day.

Treatment of labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis often happens over time, usually in a few weeks. The treatment is usually a combination of bed rest and medications.

However, it is not uncommon for the symptoms to reside and may last for a few months, even after the disease has subsided.

Sometimes, medications, such as antibiotics or antivirals, may be required to treat the underlying infection that caused the inflammation, but this is rare.

However, the symptoms may persist. If, after three weeks, there is no improvement, the person should seek his or her primary care physician. Sometimes they should refer them to a specialist in otolaryngology (otorhinolaryngologist).

In a smaller number of cases, people have symptoms that can persist for several years. This can often require more intensive treatments to help with the symptoms.

Those who suffer from chronic labyrinthitis or repeated attacks may require changes in their lifestyle and accommodation.

Those who suffer from dizziness may require home modifications to minimize the risk of falls, such as grab bars that are installed in key areas of the home, for example, the hallways, kitchen and bathrooms.

For more serious cases, it may be convenient to alter certain parts of the house to accommodate someone with labyrinthitis. The high sides of the bathroom can present a serious risk of tripping or falling, just like carpets.
Most cases of labyrinthitis heal over time, but if you suspect that you are suffering from it, you should consult your GP immediately for the best advice.