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Inner Ear Infection

Inner ear infection symptoms in adults

Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear, involving the inflammation of one or both of the vestibular nerves that send information to the brain about balance and spatial awareness.

The symptoms of labyrinthitis come on quite quickly, can be intense, and may last for several days. The most common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of balance
  • Vertigo (a type of dizziness where you feel as though you’re moving when you aren’t). It can interfere with driving, working, and other activities. Medications and self-help techniques can lessen the severity of your vertigo.
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing sound in the ear, may be high or low-pitched)
  • Vision changes, difficulty focusing the eyes

Causes

Causes of Labyrinthitis

Bacterial or viral infection is the most common cause of labyrinthitis. Contributing factors that increase your risk of developing an inner ear infection include smoking, heavy drinking, being run down or under a lot of stress, or taking over-the-counter medications. Causes of labyrinthitis include:

  • Respiratory illness (e.g. bronchitis)
  • Viral ear infections
  • Stomach virus
  • Herpes virus
  • Bacterial infection, of the middle ear or elsewhere

What to do next

Recurrent ear infections can be distressing. Come in to see one of our doctors who can help you understand what is going on and figure out the best method of treatment. Use our online booking system or give us a call to make an appointment.

FAQ

What are the risk factors for inner ear infection (acute otitis media)?

Ear infections are more likely to occur when the Eustachian tubes are blocked. This can happen with allergies, colds, overgrown adenoids, environmental toxins such as tobacco smoke, or, for children, during teething when excess mucus and saliva is being produced.

When is a child most likely to get an inner ear infection?

Inner ear infections are most common in children of between 6-18 months of age. They tend to happen with more frequency in children that were not breastfed.

Are inner ear infections contagious?

No, ear infections are not contagious, but conditions which case ear infections, such as the common cold, are highly infectious and easy to pass on.

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