Labyrinthitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of one of the two vestibular nerves that send information to the brain from the inner ear. The vestibular nerves play a huge role in an individual's balance control and spatial navigation functions. A number of causes have been identified for this condition including recurrent ear infections, respiratory illnesses, stomach viruses, bacterial infections, and Lyme disease. This condition is managed by treating the underlying cause of it whether it is an infection or a virus as well as treating the labyrinthitis symptoms the individual is experiencing. Reveal the major symptoms of labyrinthitis now.
Tinnitus is the name for when an individual hears sounds that are not from outside of their body. This means only the individual with labyrinthitis can hear the sounds. Many individuals describe tinnitus as a continuous high pitched ringing noise, however, some have also identified the noise as a chirping, screeching, static, buzzing, whooshing, clicking, hissing, roaring, pulsing, or a musical noise. These sounds typically do not occur at the same volume level all day and night, but rather, the sounds are more obvious to the individual during the night or in quiet and tranquil situations. This symptom is most likely to occur when the branch of the vestibular nerve that transmits signals between the brain and ears has been infected first or the infection has manifested in that branch more prominently than the branch that controls balance signals.
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Vertigo can best be described as an individual feeling like they are moving when they are not actually moving. It can also be described as the feeling or sensation that objects around they are moving when they actually aren't moving. Motion sickness is very similar to this feeling, but each has a different cause. It is something hard to describe, so most often individuals will say they are feeling very dizzy or they feel like they are spinning. This feeling occurs because of what happens to one of the two branches to each vestibular cranial nerve or each eighth cranial nerve. The first branch is the branch that sends messages between the brain and the ears, while the other branch transmits messages between the balance organs and the brain. Balance signals are sent from both the right and the lest vestibular nerves, and the brain has to integrate both of them for balance to function correctly. When one vestibular nerve gets infected, like in labyrinthitis, there are confusing and mismatched signals being transmitted to the brain in regards to balance. This causes the feeling of vertigo in an individual who has labyrinthitis.
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Loss Of High-Frequency Hearing
The loss of high-frequency hearing is characterized by loss of hearing of the 's,' 'sh,' and 'f' sounds when someone is speaking them at a regular volume. Individuals who experience high-frequency hearing loss due to labyrinthitis will usually have problems with understanding what children and women are saying to them, and the voices will sound muffled. Any sounds between two and eight thousand hertz are considered high-frequency sounds. In most cases, this symptom will resolve on its own anywhere after a week of having labyrinthitis, however, in more severe cases the high-frequency hearing loss can be permanent. Thanks to modern technology, most cases of hearing loss due to labyrinthitis can be treated using a cochlear implant. Most hearing loss variations that result from labyrinthitis happen in individuals who have the bacterial-induced form of the infection more often than those who have the viral form. In order to prevent permanent high-frequency hearing loss caused by labyrinthitis, it is best to seek medical care and obtain antibiotics to fight off the bacteria causing the infection.
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Loss Of Balance
The loss of balance due to labyrinthitis can occur alongside dizziness, or it can occur by itself. Balance loss is best described as an individual who cannot walk straight or stand upright correctly. Most cases of labyrinthitis that cause a loss of balance are due to the brain's altered interpretation of the balance signals that are or are not being transmitted properly within the vestibular nerve, resulting in dizziness and loss of balance. It is rare for an individual with labyrinthitis to lose their balance without some type of spinning or movement because the same inner ear components are involved with both symptoms. Loss of balance episodes are more likely to occur when an individual first stands upright after sitting or first sits upright after laying down. Permanent or long-lasting balance loss and dizziness are rare complications that can result from severe labyrinthitis.
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Difficulty Focusing Eyes
Labyrinthitis can not only affect hearing and balance, but it also can cause problems with vision. The vestibular system is directly related to the visual system to allow the body to balance itself correctly. Information from the vestibular system and the visual system are synchronized in the same part of the brain, and when the signals coming from the vestibular nerves are disrupted due to labyrinthitis, they get mixed up. This miscommunication then causes the brain to send unintentional and problematic signals to the muscles that control the movement of the eyes, such as focusing. The individual with focusing difficulties may describe having double vision or blurry vision when trying to focus on distant or up close objects they would otherwise usually be able to focus on and see clearly. The best way to describe the relationship interruption between visual and vestibular functions is to compare it with a television with a picture that is not in sync with the sound. However, when the picture or the sound are isolated, both functions work normally. The difficulty focusing the eyes is a direct result of labyrinthitis causing incoherence between vision, hearing, and balance.