Sunday, February 25, 2024

Inflammation In The Inner Ear

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Audiovestibular Symptoms In Covid

How labyrinthitis develops

Audiovestibular symptoms were the presenting symptoms of COVID-19 in three patients for one of them , hearing loss and tinnitus were the only symptoms of COVID-19. Seven patients developed audiovestibular symptoms after manifesting other symptoms of COVID-19. Audiometric data show that all patients experienced SNHL ranging from mild to profound . The majority had profound or severe hearing loss, except patient 7, who had moderate hearing loss and patient 9, who had mild high-frequency hearing loss during COVID-19 infection. Table summarizes the otoacoustic emission test results for patients 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 who completed this testing. Otoacoustic emission testing is used to confirm the presence of functional outer hair cells or the loss of OHCs because the testing is based on recording the sound made by OHC contraction with frequency-specific stimulation. While the three-times less numerous inner hair cells transmit virtually all acoustic information to the brain as they synapse with 9095% of type I auditory nerve fibers, IHC function cannot yet be clinically measured.

Fig. 1: Clinical data.

Viral Or Bacterial Labyrinthitis

There is no reliable test to determine whether labyrinthitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection because testing for infection would damage the labyrinth.

Doctors can usually safely assume that labyrinthitis is the result of a viral infection unless there is strong evidence to suggest otherwise, such as:

  • the labyrinthitis is in a very young child
  • labyrinthitis occurs in someone who is already known to have a bacterial infection
  • you have common bacterial labyrinthitis symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and complete hearing loss

What Causes Labyrinthitis Is It Contagious

The exact cause of labyrinthitis is unknown. It may be caused by swelling or problems with the nerve inside the brain responsible for balance and hearing. Labyrinthitis also may occur during or after a viral infection. Viruses associated with labyrinthitis include influenza, herpes viruses, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, and polio.

Rarely, other ear problems like barotrauma or otosclerosis can cause labyrinthitis.

Labyrinthitis itself is not contagious however, viral infections that lead to labyrinthitis are.

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What You Can Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:

  • Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and head pressure.
  • Try a cool-mist humidifier or shower steam to loosen congestion.
  • Try over-the-counter saline drops to clear the nose.
  • Consider sinus rinses or devices to remove mucus from young childrens noses.
  • For children older than age 1, honey in warm water can soothe a cough.
  • For older children, an extra pillow under their head can help them sleep better.

Home Remedies For Inner Ear Infection

Pus in Ear: Condition, Signs, Treatment, and More

Natural or home remedies include effective diet plans and a couple of precautions that can help you protect yourself and your family against infection of the inner ear regardless of your age.

The basic home remedies can help you get rid of the pain and other symptoms that you may be experiencing from the infection in your ear.

You may use the following natural substances in order to relieve from otitis interna.

  • Hydrogen peroxide drops
  • warm or hot water.
  • steam inhalation

Given below are 4 effective home remedies for an adult that can aid you to overcome problems with the infection.

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Bacterial And Viral Infections

Inner ear infections that cause vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis are usually viral rather than bacterial. Although the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections may be similar, the treatments are very different, so proper diagnosis by a physician is essential.


In serous labyrinthitis, bacteria that have infected the middle ear or the bone surrounding the inner ear produce toxins that invade the inner ear via the oval or round windows and inflame the cochlea, the vestibular system, or both. Serous labyrinthitis is most frequently a result of chronic, untreated middle ear infections and is characterized by subtle or mild symptoms.

Less common is suppurative labyrinthitis, in which bacterial organisms themselves invade the labyrinth. The infection originates either in the middle ear or in the cerebrospinal fluid, as a result of bacterial meningitis. Bacteria can enter the inner ear through the cochlear aqueduct or internal auditory canal, or through a fistula in the horizontal semicircular canal.


Viral infections of the inner ear are more common than bacterial infections, but less is known about them. An inner ear viral infection may be the result of a systemic viral illness or, the infection may be confined to the labyrinth or the vestibulo-cochlear nerve. Usually, only one ear is affected.

Symptoms Of A Middle Ear Infection

In most cases, the symptoms of a middle ear infection develop quickly and resolve in a few days. This is known as acute otitis media. The main symptoms include:

  • a lack of energy
  • slight hearing loss – if the middle ear becomes filled with fluid

In some cases, a hole may develop in the eardrum and pus may run out of the ear. The earache, which is caused by the build-up of fluid stretching the eardrum, then resolves.

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Apple Cider Vinegar With Rubbing Alcohol Ear Drops

This recipe is identical to the one above except it involves rubbing alcohol instead of warm water.

Rubbing alcohol is both antimicrobial and antibacterial. Do not use this method if you have drainage from your ear or think you may have a middle ear infection. Also, do not continue with this mixture if you have any stinging or discomfort when using these drops.

  • Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with rubbing alcohol .
  • Apply 5 to 10 drops in each affected ear using a clean dropper bottle or baby syringe.
  • Cover your ear with a cotton ball or clean cloth and lean on your side to let drops enter and sit in the ear. Do this for about 5 minutes.
  • Repeat this application as often as desired to fight ear infection.

Mouse Inner Ear Collection

Clogged Ear Due to Ear Infection or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Wild-type CBA/CaJ mice were obtained from the Jackson Laboratory . Animals of either sex were used for experimentation in an estimated 50:50 ratio. Six weeks old mice were sacrificed through cardiac perfusion, decapitated, and inner ears were removed. Inner ears were then fixed in buffered 4% PFA for 23h after piercing both the round and oval windows, decalcified in 0.12M EDTA at room temperature for 4 days, serially dehydrated in sucrose, embedded in OCT compound, and sectioned into 12µm cryosections on a Leica CM-1860 cryostat. This research was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

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Risk Factors For Ear Infections

Ear infections occur most commonly in young children because they have short and narrow Eustachian tubes. About of children develop an acute ear infection at some point.

Infants who are bottle-fed also have a higher incidence of ear infections than their breastfed counterparts.

Other factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection are:

  • altitude changes

What Causes Sinusitis Vertigo

Sinusitis vertigo is vertigo caused by a buildup of mucus in the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube runs from the inner ear to your throat. Its part of the system that helps you maintain your balance. When your sinuses are inflamed during a sinus infection, your sinuses can no longer drain properly. As a result, mucus and fluid build up in many areas of the ear, nose, and throat .

While some patients may describe the experience of living with sinusitis vertigo as being dizzy or feeling as if your equilibrium is off because of your sinuses, its important to note that vertigo is differentiated medically from dizziness and equilibrium issues. Specifically, vertigo is the sensation of spinning, whether the patient feels like they are spinning or the room is spinning.

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Causes Of Labyrinthitis And Vestibular Neuritis

There are various things that can cause labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis.

  • Viral infections are the most common cause. Most often cold or flu viruses, but also others, including the varicella zoster virus , and the mumps, measles and rubella viruses.
  • Bacterial infections, usually middle ear infection or meningitis, that spread to your inner ear. These are more common in children than in adults.
  • Autoimmune conditions affecting your inner ear. This is a less common cause. If you have an autoimmune condition, your immune system mistakenly attacks some of your body’s healthy tissues, causing inflammation and damage.
  • Damage to your inner ear, due to an underlying disease, such as meningitis, circulatory problems or Ménières disease.

Theres no evidence that other factors, such as stress or allergy can increase your risk of labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis. Having one of these conditions can make you feel more stressed or anxious though, which can worsen your symptoms.

Ginger For Nausea And Vertigo

Ear Infection (Middle Ear) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment ...

Some studies suggest that ginger tea can be an effective treatment for vertigo. Other studies indicate that ginger is an effective treatment for nausea.

However, it is worth noting that researchers conducted these studies in participants experiencing benign paroxysmal positional vertigo , a different type of vertigo than that which occurs with labyrinthitis. That said, they share some symptoms, including nausea.

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What Medications Treat And Cure Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis symptoms and any associated infection may be treated with over-the-counter medications or prescription medications.

  • Your doctor may recommend OTC diphenhydramine , or prescription meclizine , promethazine hydrochloride , lorazepam , or diazepam to help control nausea and vomiting, and to relieve dizziness and vertigo.
  • Prescription medications, for example, steroids , antibiotics, and antivirals may help with inflammation and treat any infection associated with labyrinthitis.
  • If you become dehydrated from severe vomiting, you may receive intravenous fluids in an Emergency Department.

What Are The Different Types Of Ear Infection

Fluid formation in the middle ear usually leads to an ear infection but infection can also be in the outer and inner ear. Few of the main types of ear infection can be outlined as:

1. Outer Ear Infections

One of the most common types of ear infection is swimmers ear. In these cases, the outer covering of the ear canal suffers from a bacterial infection caused by excessive immersion in water, like during swimming, or by external damage caused by swabs, etc.

2. Middle Ear Infections

The common cold is another culprit which causes ear infections. Due to the flu virus, the middle ear, or the hollow cavity in the ear gets filled with pus and causes discomfort and pain. The middle ear infections tend to get cured on their own as the cold gets better, though some home remedies can be applied to ease the symptoms.

3. Inner Ear Infections

The riskiest of all ear infections are inner ear infections. As the inner ear helps in keeping our balance, an infection there affects our balance causing vertigo and a ringing sensation in the ears. Inner ear infections are more common in adults than in kids and can also be assuaged at home, though in certain cases it is advised that proper medical care is taken.

Now that we know why and how ear infections arise, it is time we look at ways to cure the same. Ear infections can be cured using various oils, food items, exercises, etc. which we will be discussing next.

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What Limitations Are There On A Child With Middle Ear Infection Or Inflammation

Otitis media is not contagious .

A child with otitis media can travel by airplane, but if the Eustachian tube is not working well, the pressure change as the plane descends may cause the child pain. It is best not to fly with a draining ear.

You should always consult your doctor if you have specific concerns.

Inner Ear Causes Of Dizziness


Some of the most common causes of dizziness arise from problems in your inner ear. A disturbance in the blood circulation or fluid pressure in the inner ear can trigger dizziness and tinnitus. For example, a bad cold can swell your inner ears and lead to bouts of dizziness. You might also experience dizziness if there is pressure on the nerves responsible for delivering balance information to your brain.

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What Causes Labyrinthitis

The most common cause of labyrinthitis is a viral infection, such as from a cold or the flu, or infection with a virus from the herpes group of viruses, which causes chickenpox, shingles or cold sores, as well as measles or glandular fever. Sometimes an ear infection can lead to labyrinthitis.

Less commonly, a bacterial infection, such as meningitis or a middle ear infection, can cause labyrinthitis. Some autoimmune conditions, allergies and medications can lead to labyrinthitis.

Who Gets Labyrinthitis

Most cases of viral labyrinthitis occur in adults aged 30 to 60 years old. Viral labyrinthitis is relatively common in adults. Other types of ear infections are usually more widespread in children. Bacterial labyrinthitis is much less common. Younger children under two years old are more vulnerable to developing bacterial labyrinthitis.

Otitis Media In Adults

Otitis media is another name for a middle ear infection. It means an infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.

Middle ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection, you should see your healthcare provider for treatment. If they happen repeatedly, you should see an otolaryngologist or an otologist .

What are the types of middle ear infections?

Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:

Who is more likely to get a middle ear infection?

You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:

  • Smoke or are around someone who smokes
  • Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms
  • Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection

What causes a middle ear infection?

The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle ear infection.

Why Do Infants And Young Children Tend To Have Ear Infections

Ear Infection

The Eustachian tube, a canal that runs from the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat, is shorter and more horizontal in infants and young children than in older children and adults. This allows easier entry into the middle ear for the microorganisms that cause infection and leads to otitis media. Young children also have more immature immune systems.

The result is that infants and young children are at greater risk of acquiring ear infections than adults.

How Is Labyrinthitis Treated

Labyrinthitis treatment depends on the root cause of your condition. For example, if your labyrinthitis is due to a virus, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe antiviral medications. If bacteria is the culprit, then antibiotics will be given. Additionally, corticosteroids may be recommended to reduce nerve inflammation, and medications to control dizziness and nausea may be prescribed on a short-term basis.

What if my symptoms dont go away with medication?

If youre still having labyrinthitis symptoms after a few weeks, vestibular rehabilitation exercises may be necessary to resolve your issues. This type of physical therapy can retrain your brain and help you adjust to the vestibular imbalance.

What is the fastest way to cure labyrinthitis?

Labyrinthitis symptoms and their response to treatment can vary from person to person. What works well for one individual may not work as well for you. However, in many cases, antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine or meclizine can quickly ease uncomfortable symptoms.

What home remedies can I try?

You can also try a number of home remedies to reduce discomfort, including:

  • Apply a warm compress over your ear.
  • Gargle with warm saltwater to help clear your eustachian tube .
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Try stress management techniques, such as mindfulness or meditation.

Check If You Have Labyrinthitis

The most common symptoms of labyrinthitis are:

  • dizziness or feeling that everything around you is spinning
  • feeling unsteady and off balance you might find it difficult to stay upright or walk in a straight line
  • feeling or being sick
  • hearing loss
  • ringing in your ears

The symptoms of vestibular neuritis are very similar, but it does not cause hearing loss or tinnitus.

Symptoms can start suddenly. They may be there when you wake up and get worse as the day goes on.

The symptoms often ease after a few days.

You’ll usually get your balance back over 2 to 6 weeks, although it can take longer.

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

If you develop any symptoms of labyrinthitis, such as vertigo, nausea or balance problems, you should call your healthcare provider right away. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and design a personalized treatment plan.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Labyrinthitis can lead to many unpleasant side effects that can diminish your quality of life. Should you develop symptoms, dont wait until they worsen. Timely treatment can reduce the likelihood that your inner ear issues will turn into long-term problems.

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