Vertigo Causes: Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis


Vertigo can be due to labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis. However, there are clear distinctions between these two kinds of disorders. Let us discuss what they are by digging deeper into them and their causes. At the end of this piece, we will present a natural relief and comfort. 

Infections of the Inner Ear

Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are both disorders that result from an inflammation in the inner ear or the nerves connecting the inner ear to the brain. An infection disrupts the transmission of sensory information from the ear to the brain. When this happens, dizziness, difficulties with balance, vision loss, or hearing impairment may occur.

Infections of the inner ear are frequently viral. Less commonly, the cause is bacterial. Internal ear infections are not so much different from middle ear infections. Middle ear infections are the type of bacterial inflammation common in childhood, and it affects the area around the eardrum.

Explaining The Sense of Balance and Hearing

The inner ear has a system of fluid-filled tubes and sacs, called the labyrinth. The labyrinth serves two main jobs: keeps our sense of balance and hearing.

  • The balance function of the inner ear involves the vestibular organs. Hair cells and fluid in the semicircular canals, the utricle and saccule provide the brain with information about head movement.
  • The hearing function of the inner ear involves the cochlea, a snail-shaped tube filled with sensitive nerve endings and fluid that broadcast sound signals to the brain.

Brain signals travel from the labyrinth to the brain through the vestibulocochlear nerve, the eighth cranial nerve, which has two branches. The first branch - the cochlear nerve, sends messages from the hearing organ. The second branch - the vestibular nerve, transmits signals from the balance organs.

From the left and the right ears, the brain integrates balance signals through the vestibular nerve. However, if one side has an infection, it transmits faulty signals. As a result, the brain receives mismatched information. Therefore, dizziness or vertigo happens.

Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis

Labyrinthitis is the inflammation of the labyrinth. AS a result, it brings hearing changes as well as dizziness or vertigo.

Neuritis is an inflammation of the vestibulocochlear nerve. It affects the branch linked with balance and results in dizziness or vertigo, but there are no changes in hearing. Also known as neuronitis, it means damage to the sensory neurons of the vestibular ganglion. 

Bacterial VS Viral Infections

Inner ear infections that cause labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are frequently viral rather than bacterial. Even though the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections are similar, the treatments are entirely different. Therefore, it is essential to let the proper diagnosis come from the doctors themselves to get the appropriate solutions.


In cases of severe labyrinthitis, bacteria that infects the middle ear or the bone surrounding the inner ear generate toxins that attack the inner ear and inflame the cochlea, the vestibular system, or even both. Labyrinthitis is most often a result of chronic and untreated middle ear infections (chronic otitis media). Mild or subtle symptoms commonly characterize it.

Suppurative labyrinthitis is less common. Here, bacterial organisms invade the labyrinth. The inflammation originates either in the middle ear or in the cerebrospinal fluid, due to bacterial meningitis. Bacteria enter the inner ear through the internal auditory canal, the cochlear aqueduct, or through a fistula or abnormal opening in the horizontal semicircular canal.


Viral infections of the inner ear are more frequent than bacterial infections. An inner ear viral infection could be the result of a systemic viral illness – one that affects the rest of the body. An example would be infectious mononucleosis or measles. Also, the infection is limited to the labyrinth or the vestibulocochlear nerve. Usually, viral infections only affect one ear.

Here are some viruses associated with labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis:

  • Polio
  • Influenza
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella

There may be other viruses yet unidentified because it is difficult to get samples from the labyrinth without destroying it. A virus usually causes inner ear infections. It can run its course then go dormant within the nerve. It can become active again without warning. There is currently no method to predict if it may reappear. 

Symptoms of Labyrinthitis and Viral Neuritis

  • Vertigo
  • Difficulty with vision
  • Impaired concentration
  • Unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Imbalance

Sometimes, the symptoms are severe that people suffering from this condition lose the ability to stand or walk. Viral labyrinthitis may produce the same symptoms, combined with tinnitus (loud ringing noises in the ear) or hearing loss. 

People with chronic neuritis or labyrinthitis have a hard time describing their symptoms. They also often become frustrated because they may look healthy, but they don’t feel well. Also, they may observe that everyday activities give them significant discomfort. They quickly feel exhausted when doing normal activities for no reason. Some people find it extremely difficult to work because of a nagging feeling of disorientation or haziness. They also have difficulty with concentration and thinking.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care for Vertigo 

Whether you have labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, when it comes to finding relief for vertigo, upper cervical misalignment is one of those things that need correction. The top bones in your neck can affect both ear functions and brainstem function. For this reason, vertigo can hit you any time.

Upper cervical chiropractic care can help you deal with labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis naturally. When you feel regular bouts of vertigo, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, it only makes sense to see an upper cervical doctor. You may discover that the precise and gentle corrections they perform are exactly what you need to get rid of vertigo symptoms.


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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.