Alternative Names

Bacterial labyrinthitis; Serous labyrinthitis; Neuronitis – vestibular; Vestibular neuronitis; Viral neurolabyrinthitis; Vestibular neuritis

Definition of Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an ear disorder that involves irritation and swelling of the inner ear.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The are likely many causes of labyrinthitis. It commonly occurs after an ear infection ( ) or an . It may also occur after an , cholesteatoma, or taking certain drugs that are dangerous to the inner ear.

Signs and tests

A complete physical and neurological exam should be done. An ear examination may not reveal any problems.


Labyrinthitis usually goes away within a few weeks. Treatment involves reducing symptoms, such as spinning sensations. Medications that may reduce symptoms include:

Expectations (prognosis)

If you have severe vomiting, you may be admitted to the hospital.


David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. – 9/27/2008

Ear anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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