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Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis

When to call the doctor

  • You feel dizzy just from moving your head or body.
  • You occasionally feel nauseous and have vomiting.
  • You have ringing or rushing noises in your ear.
  • You have a sudden hearing loss.

When to go to the hospital

  • You cannot eat, drink, or take medications because of vomiting.
  • Your hearing progressively worsens.
  • You have a severe headache or lethargy.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have ear pain.
  • You recently injured your head or ear.
  • Your dizziness doesn't stop after a few minutes.
  • You develop double vision.
  • You develop speech problems.
  • Your arm or leg suddenly gets numb or weak.
  • Muscles on your face become weak or paralyzed.
  • Your gait (ability to walk normally) is affected.

Self-Care at Home

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

Talk to your doctor about certain maneuvers or exercises (Brandt and Daroff exercises and Epley maneuver) that may speed your recovery. These positions attempt to rearrange tiny particles inside your ear and/or desensitize you to their effects.

  • Sit on the edge of your bed near the middle, with legs hanging down.
  • Turn your head 45° to your right side.
  • Quickly lie down on your left side, with your head still turned, and touch the bed with the portion of your head behind your ear.
  • Hold this position—and every following position—for about 30 seconds.
  • Sit up again.
  • Quickly turn your head 45° toward your left side and lie down on your right side.
  • Sit up again.
  • Do 6-10 repetitions, 3 times per day.

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Follow-up
  • Visit your doctor regularly if symptoms continue despite therapy and rest.
  • Do not drive, work at heights, or operate heavy machinery until the dizziness leaves you.
  • Rest in bed for the first few days to avoid falls and injuries around the house.
  • Consult a neurologist or ENT physician if you do not understand your diagnosis.
Prevention

The only causes of labyrinthitis that you can try to avoid are accidents or trauma to your ear.

Outlook
  • For most causes of simple labyrinthitis, you likely will recover within a matter of days or weeks.
  • Some people may experience symptoms for weeks or months.
  • Others may have periodic recurrences.

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