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Caroline asked...

I've been told that I've got labyrinthitis.

I've been told that I've got labyrinthitis and my Mother has got Meniere's disease - what are the differences?

Also, is there a technical test to confirm that I/my Mother have these conditions? My test was the GP moving her finger in front of my eye and I was to follow it. Thanks in advance.

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The answer

Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a virus affecting the middle ear leading to dizziness and vertigo. The symptoms are usually mild and get better after a few weeks. If the doctor examines you and finds nothing worrying, then it is usual to wait to see if it settles on its own. If it does not go after 3-4 weeks then you should see your doctor again for further tests.

Menieres classically causes ‘attacks’ of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and a feeling of fullness in one or both ears. The diagnosis is suspected by the history but warrants a more detailed examination by an ENT doctor along with a hearing test and MRI scan (to exclude other causes).

Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.


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