Labyrinthitis Treatment is a straightforward process with effective results. However, the challenge is actually arriving at a Labyrinthitis diagnosis because Labyrinthitis symptoms mimic many other conditions. Therefore, before treating Labyrinthitis, it is imperative that we arrive at the correct diagnosis.
Vestibular researchers are always working on improving our equipment. The clinical use of video head impulse testing (VHIT) is a great addition to assist in the diagnosis of Labyrinthitis.
When a patient comes to our clinic complaining of symptoms such as sudden vertigo attacks, nausea, dizziness, loss of hearing, or tinnitus, there are a variety of conditions that pop on our radar.
Some of the conditions that mimic symptoms of Labyrinthitis include:
- Meniere’s Disease
- Small stroke, brain hemorrhage, or brain tumor
- Damage to the neck arteries
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological disorders
- Side effects of prescription or nonprescription drugs
First, we analyze a patient’s case history and use our diagnostic equipment to rule out other conditions and disorders.
Additionally, your physician might recommend imaging to include an MRI or CT scan of the brain and neck to rule out any medical concerns.
In order to rule out other vestibular disorders and pinpoint if there’s damage in the vestibular system, we use tests such as Video Head Impulse Testing (VHIT), Videonystagmography (VNG), Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP), Advanced Rotational Chair Studies, Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP) and an audiogram (hearing test).
As we progress through the battery of tests, we’re actively adding and eliminating possible diagnoses until we’re confident that Labyrinthitis is the source of the problems. At which point, we begin Labyrinthitis Treatment.
Personalized Labyrinthitis Treatment depends on when we catch Labyrinthitis. Is the dizzy patient in the acute or chronic phase?
The acute phase of Labyrinthitis is the onset of symptoms. It’s the first sudden bout of dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, or loss of hearing. It’s frightening! Patients don’t know what is happening. And most will go to the emergency room, an ENT, or a Vestibular Audiologist for an immediate checkup.
During the acute phase, the goal of treatment is to fight the virus causing Labyrinthitis and offer immediate solutions to lessen the symptoms.
Medications your physician prescribe during the acute phase include:
- To fight the infection – steroids, antiviral drugs, or antibiotics
- To control or lessen nausea and dizziness – Benadryl, Antivert, Phenergen, Ativan, or Valium
Oftentimes, patients don’t seek treatment for their Labyrinthitis until a week or more has passed, once they realize their symptoms aren’t dissipating. This is known as the chronic phase of Labyrinthitis. Most likely, the infection has passed. However, there’s likely damage in the vestibular system or another vestibular disorder has progressed.
During the chronic phase, we rehabilitate the weakened or malfunctioning vestibular system. We achieve this through a personalized Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) regimen.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy includes:
- Habituation – Desensitizing the dizzy patient to triggering environments with optokinetic motion desensitization and sensory reweighting
- Gaze Stabilization – Retraining the connection between the eyes and the vestibular system
- Balance Training – Building up the muscles used in everyday balance with physical therapy
The optimal outcome of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is compensation. What is compensation?
Compensation is your body’s ability to find new strategies for balancing. As the name states, VRT exercises train the brain and body to compensate for the lacking ability to balance. It’s like finding a backroad shortcut when the highways are backed up.
Those who do nothing about their Labyrinthitis may find themselves back to normal in a matter of weeks. Some people’s immune systems fight the viral or bacterial source just fine. And their brains compensate without any VRT.
But this is not the case for many dizzy patients.
Because Labyrinthitis attacks the system responsible for our balance, all parts of the body that contribute to creating balance can be affected long-term.
Furthermore, there are three distinct ways our body collects information in order to balance:
- Proprioceptive Information – How our leg muscles and joints sense balance
- Visual Information – How our eyes help us orient our bodies in space
- Inner Ear Information – How our inner ear instruments understand our head’s position relative to the rest of the information
Any one of these three sources of information can be slightly off or not communicating with our vestibular system properly. In other words, “not on the same page” as the rest of the body.
But an evaluation from a Vestibular Audiologist pinpoints exactly which parts of the vestibular system aren’t aligned. And without proper treatment, the dizzy patient may never find alignment again.
Do You Need Help?
Clearly, this process is complex and a lot for any dizzy person to handle on their own. Therefore, we recommend working with a Vestibular Audiologist to guide you through this process.
The Dizzy & Vertigo Institute specializes in diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders. Labyrinthitis included.
Our team of Vestibular Audiologists holds your hand through this process, ensuring that you understand why your balance is acting up and making it clear how our methods will help you get back to a dizzy-free life.
If you or someone you know suffers from any symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, or just “feeling off”, then we’re here for you!
Please schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at (310) 954-2207.
You don’t have to live with dizziness forever. There are solutions.
And we hope to hear from you soon!