CT2753 Ear anatomy


Labyrinthitis is a condition in which the membranous labyrinth which is present in semicircular canals and the cochlea becomes inflamed. Since the labyrinth is responsible for balance and hearing, patients suffering from labyrinthitis experience sudden onset vertigo and loss of hearing.
Common symptoms of labyrinthitis to look out for can include:
  • Sudden onset Vertigo
  • Ringing in the ears ( tinnitus)
  • Loss of Hearing / Muffled / Blocked Ears
  • Nausea and vomiting
There are various known causes to labyrinthitis, including:
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Viral/bacterial ear infections
  • Herpes virus
  • Rarer causes eg Lyme disease


Treatment for labyrinthitis is time sensitive and should be initiated as soon as symptoms begin. In view of the unilateral loss of hearing, a MRI scan will be ordered to ensure that there is no vestibular schwanomma tumour causing your symptoms. The mainstay of treatment are the following
  • Corticosteroids
  • Medication to supress dizziness and nausea
  • Antiviral medications

Progression of Labyrinthitis

Vertigo is the first symptom to improve in labyrinthitis however, the hearing loss may persist and may never return to baseline if treatment is not initiated early enough.

Adult ENT