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Kathy asked...

Viral labyrinthitis

I have been diagnosed with viral labyrinthitis 2 weeks ago. I am experiencing dizziness and 'complete' hearing loss in one ear. Symptoms are still the same after 2 weeks. Will I ever regain hearing after 'total' hearing loss?

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The answer

Labyrinthitis is an infection of the inner ear and often presents with the following symptoms- pain, oozing of pus, vertigo, dizziness and nausea.

Diagnosis of this infection is often as a result of presenting symptoms but can also be made by means of physical examination and tests such as blood tests, MRI and CT scans or Lumbar puncture.

Treatment is often achieved by means of resting and avoiding stimulation such as movement, excessive noise and bright lights.

If symptoms persist further treatment can include:

antibiotics to treat the infection,

anti-emetics to treat nausea

steroids to reduce inflammation

and benzodiazepines to block messages to the brain regarding sensations being felt.

With treatment the condition usually resolves within 1-3 weeks but if it persists then it would be advisable to see your GP for further investigations and possible referral for cognitive behavioural therapy to help retrain your brain to ignore the messages being received re balance and vertigo issues.

Hearing should improve as the infection is treated. Ear syringing and ensuring that there is not a build up of wax may also help with hearing.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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