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Labyrinthitis

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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD, MD - Neurology
Last Revised October 3, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 03, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.