Labyrinthitis is most often linked to an ear infection and dizziness. Simply put, labyrinthitis is an inflammation deep inside the inner ear. It affects the labyrinth, the area of the inner ear that regulates balance.
When the part of the inner ear that controls balance is impaired, several symptoms can occur. Dizziness, a ringing sound in the ears or even temporary hearing loss are all common. Additional symptoms can include a fever and congestion.
Labyrinthitis is usually prompted by a viral or bacterial infection in the upper respiratory system, such as a cold or the flu. Allergies can also cause labyrinthitis. Symptoms usually appear within a couple of weeks after a bout with the flu or a cold. These symptoms can last several days or several weeks.
Inflammation in the eustachian tube is usually the first step in developing an ear infection and dizziness. The eustachian tube connects the middle ear and the throat. It also helps release fluid and maintain pressure in the middle ear.
A viral infection or allergies can cause the eustachian tube to swell up and prevent fluids from being released. The trapped fluids then create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. When the bacteria builds up, an infection can result. If the infection is severe enough, an inner ear infection and dizziness can occur.
The symptoms of ear infection and dizziness are sometimes severe enough to cause nausea or vomiting. Testing is required to determine whether labyinthitis is causing the dizziness. A doctor will usually look for symptoms of a viral infection in making a diagnosis of labyrinthitis. If dizziness is severe, a doctor might prescribe anti-nausea medication.
Children are very susceptible to inner ear infections. In small children, this is partly because of the ongoing development of their eustachian tubes, which can easily become clogged. Children in child care or schools are also at risk because they are frequently exposed to other children who have viral infections.
In rare cases, complications are possible with an inner ear infection and dizziness. If the dizziness is extreme, there is the possibility of injury. It is wise for one to not operate a motor vehicle while healing from an ear infection and dizziness.
Other complications can result from recurring ear infections. Recurring infections can cause permanent hearing loss if the middle ear structure is damaged. It is also possible for an inner ear infection to spread to other nearby tissue.
Symptoms of an ear infection and dizziness should be treated promptly. A doctor should be consulted to obtain a diagnosis. Extensive testing might also be required to rule out the possibility of other illnesses.