Vestibular neuritis symptoms
The inflammation of the vestibular nerve interferes with balance, causing dizziness and vertigo (a feeling that you or everything around you is spinning around). You might also feel sick, vomit, or have blurry vision.
Symptoms can vary from person to person and can appear when you get up in the morning, or suddenly start during the day.
Causes of vestibular neuritis
Vestibular neuritis can follow on from things like a cold or sore throat, where a viral infection has spread to the vestiubular nerve.
Bacterial infections can also cause this condition, stemming from things like a middle ear infection or following a head injury.
Diagnosing vestibular neuritis
As vertigo and dizziness can be symptoms of various conditions, diagnosing vestibular neuritis is usually based on your symptoms and an examination to rule out other possible conditions.
Your GP will check your ears for signs of infection, ask you to move around, and even check your eyes as they can indicate whether the balancing system of the body is working as it should.
Vestibular neuritis treatment
With early treatment, it’s common to fully recover with no lasting damage. Treatment will depend on the cause and will mainly focus on managing the more debilitating symptoms of the condition.
If it has been caused by an underlying infection, you might be prescribed antibiotics to clear the infection and reduce the inflammation. You doctor might recommend taking medication to control nausea or to reduce dizziness.
In more severe cases, it might be necessary to undergo some rehabilitation therapy to help your body and your brain learn how to adapt to changes in your balance.
The recovery process for vestibular neuritis
Usually people will start to feel better after a few days, but full recovery tends to take around three weeks. It’s also possible for you to experience bouts of dizziness or vertigo for a few months after.
You might find it quite difficult getting back to your normal routine when your balance has been affected, but it’s best to keeping moving while you recover.
Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis
Vestibular neuritis can often be confused with another very similar condition called labyrinthitis.
Essentially, they both have the same symptoms of vertigo and problems with balance, but labyrinthitis also involves hearing loss and a ringing in the ears (tinnitus). This is because vestibular neuritis only affects the nerve responsible for balance, while labryinthitis affects both the nerves for balance and hearing.
Most cases of vestibular neuritis can be treated with no lasting damage.
It can take up to three weeks to fully recover from vestibular neuritis, but you may be affected by bouts of dizziness for a few months afterwards.