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Labyrinthitis - Symptoms and advice

Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear. It is normally contracted through viral infection, bacterial infection, head injuries, allergies, or because of extreme stress. Most sufferers have trouble with balance, experience temporary hearing loss, or suffer from tinnitus which causes a ringing sensation in the ear. In extreme cases, labyrinthitis can lead to a permanent loss of hearing.

Most cases are recorded in adults aged between 30 and 60. Statistics show that women are twice as likely to be affected as men. Sufferers normally have the symptoms for between 3 and 8 weeks. For most people the symptoms then disappear without a trace.

Symptoms of labyrinthitis

Many sufferers report a drunk like feeling. Another common complaint is imbalance. In some cases there have been reports that the sufferer feels ‘warped’ and the world around feels surreal. Imagine looking through a fish tank and you might understand the sensation. Being unable to focus your eyes properly is another common symptom. As is the feeling of being pushed backwards and forwards when sat still on a chair without a backrest. Motion intolerance, where you feel as if the ground is moving once you have disembarked from a car, plane or train, is another symptom. You may also hear a constant buzz in your ears.

Treatment of labyrinthitis

For most people, the symptoms pass without need for treatment. But if they don’t go away within the first 3 weeks, you may need treatment. This involves bed rest, dietary restrictions, and medication. Sufferers are advised to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Avoiding bright lights, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and cigarettes will help reduce the feeling of dizziness. If medication is needed, your doctor will probably prescribe benzodiazepine.

Final word

As with any information gleaned from the web about illness, it’s important that you consult your GP if you have any of the symptoms described here.

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