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Vestibular Neuritis & Labyrinthitis

Vestibular Neuritis & Labyrinthitis

  • Did you know that vestibular neuritis is almost always a one-time experience (in 95% of cases)?
  • Did you know that we use simple, specialised technology to assess the extent of the damage from vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis?
  • Did you know that vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis always result in sudden hearing loss in the same ear?
  • Did you know that benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) commonly occurs following a neuritis event and Vestibular physiotherapists can usually assess and treat this quickly and effectively?

What are Vestibular Neuritis & Labyrinthitis Disorders?

Vestibular neuritis and Labyrinthitis are closely related disorders.

Vestibular neuritis involves swelling of either a single branch, or the entire vestibular portion, of the vestibulocochlear nerve, which affects balance and control of eye movements. This swelling causes that alarming feeling that ‘the world is spinning’.

Labyrinthitis involves the swelling of both branches of the vestibulocochlear nerve (the vestibular portion and the cochlear portion). It causes additional symptoms of hearing loss and sometimes ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) on the affected side. Nausea and vomiting are also common.

Generally, the most severe symptoms (severe vertigo and nystagmus) only last a couple of days, but while present, they can make it extremely difficult to perform your routine daily activities. It can be quite frightening, especially while you don’t have a diagnosis. After the severe symptoms lessen, most people make a slow but full recovery over approximately the next six weeks. Some people, however, experience balance and dizziness problems that last for several months or longer. Research has shown that the sooner vestibular and balance physiotherapy is commenced, the more favourable the results. Nevertheless, therapy can still provide benefits even when initiated after the initial event.

Common Symptoms

  • Sudden onset vertigo (a feeling that the room is spinning or rolling around)
  • Balance and walking issues
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating

Causes of Vestibular Neuritis & Labyrinthitis

Most cases of vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are thought to be caused by a viral inner ear infection, though in some cases the cause can be bacterial. The most common viral infections thought to cause vestibular neuritis include:

  • Flu (influenza)
  • Herpes simplex (cold sores)

How can we Help?

A specially trained and experienced vestibular physiotherapist can help you understand your particular condition, assess which branches and parts of the nerve have been affected and devise an appropriate management plan to address your symptoms and goals – both in the acute and chronic phases of the condition. State of the art technology, including infrared goggles and video head impulse testing equipment, is used to identify your specific deficits.

Whilst reassurance, education and support go a long way to assist you, understanding your unique situation enables us to provide a tailored approach to your vestibular and balance rehabilitation program. Exercise-based therapy helps to compensate for the damage caused, and trains your brain to make modifications to the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Further testing can demonstrate these improvements to you in a meaningful way.

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview: This helps us to gain a full understanding of your symptoms, medical history and what you hope to achieve from our intervention.
  • Support: We understand how frightening it is to experience vertigo, dizziness and imbalance, so we carefully address your concerns and help you feel confident about participating in assessment and treatment.
  • Physical Assessment: We take a considered approach to assessing your body, head and eye movements and vestibular reflexes, using the latest technology. This enables us to accurately assess your function and develop a customised treatment plan for you.
  • Education: We believe that your understanding of the findings, condition and aims of treatment is important to your outcome, so we’ll spend time explaining key points.
  • Targeted Treatments: We use specialised treatment methods, such as repositioning techniques, to manage your symptoms. In some cases, this can lead to immediate improvement in your symptoms and movement.
  • Progressive Exercise Program: We teach you specially designed exercises and movements to retrain your brain, to enable independence and safely build confidence, capacity, coordination and balance, in line with your lifestyle goals.
  • Communication and Collaboration with your General Practitioner and/or Specialist doctors to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care.

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium