Inner ear infection (labyrinthitis)

The main symptom of labyrinthitis is vertigo - a spinning sensation. Symptoms may be mild, with slight vertigo and mild tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), or they may be more severe. More severe cases may lead to a rare sudden loss of hearing in the affected ear. Severe vertigo with these severe symptoms may lead to nausea and possibly vomiting. Loss of balance may also occur.

Often, the inflammation goes away on its own within a couple of weeks, and both hearing and balance return to normal. However, labyrinthitis may cause long-term or permanent damage. If it affects the vestibular system, it can damage a person's sense of balance for several years after the inflammation is gone. If it affects the cochlea, it may cause hearing damage.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team