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What is vestibular neuritis?

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Quick Answer

Vestibular neuritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the vestibulocochlear nerve, according to Cleveland Clinic. The inflammation affects the transmission of sensory information from the ear to the brain, notes Vestibular Disorders Association. The disorder starts with a sudden attack of vertigo or dizziness, accompanied by difficulty in vision or balance, states Everyday Health. It can occur at any age, but it is rarely reported in children, notes Cleveland Clinic.

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Symptoms of vestibular neuritis include dizziness, severe vertigo, nausea, balance difficulties and concentration difficulties, indicates Cleveland Clinic. Vestibular neuritis is closely related to labyrinthitis, which is characterized by the swelling of the vestibulocochlear nerve that affects hearing and balance. The symptoms of the two conditions are the same, but with additional symptoms of tinnitus. Usually, the signs of vestibular neuritis start to manifest themselves suddenly and can last for several days, states Everyday Health.

Vestibular neuritis is mostly caused by a viral infection confined to the inner ear or somewhere else in the body, indicates Everyday Health. Vestibular neuritis is diagnosed by carrying out a series of tests, including hearing tests, vestibular tests and tests to determine if the vestibulocochlear nerve is damaged, states Cleveland Clinic.

Treatment for vestibular neuritis depends on the nature of the condition. Acute vestibular neuritis is treated using medicines to suppress dizziness and nausea. If symptoms of dizziness persist for many weeks after the initial treatment, a physician may recommend vestibular rehabilitation exercises, states Everyday Health.

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