Inner ear infections mainly occur during inflammation of the inner ear structures. It has organs which are involved in hearing and balance. A part called labyrinth has tubes which are filled with fluid and it serves for hearing and balance. The hearing is linked to the cochlea, which is also filled with fluid and the balance goes to the vestibular organs which consist out of semicircular canals, saccule and utricle. The signals from the ear are transmitted via eight cranial nerve called vestibulocochlear nerve. The labyrinth and the nerve can get inflamed leading to labyrinthitis and neuritis. It sends disordered signals to the brain which can lead to vertigo.
Main Causes Of Inner Ear Infection
- It happens when the infection affects labyrinth or both branches of the nerve, causing dizziness and vertigo accompanied with hearing issues.
- It affects usually only one branch, either vestibular or cochlear, resulting in wrong signal transportation which ends in vertigo, but not affecting the hearing part.
A cause can be viral or bacterial infection. Viral infections are more common and may spread to general infections such as meningitis. The infection usually affects only one ear. Some of the viruses which can cause this kind of infections are influenza virus, rubella, hepatitis, poliovirus, Epstein-Barr and others. The infections caused by bacteria usually spreads from a chronical middle ear infection or the bacteria itself can invade the inner ear structures. It can be bacterial meningitis, which can result with some severe consequences.
Symptoms Of Inner Ear Infection
It can depend on the cause of the infection if it is bacteria or a virus. It affects balance and hearing ability with possible occurrence of pain.
- Loss of balance (vertigo)
- Loss of hearing in the affected ear
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- The difficulty with focusing the sight on an object.
Risk Factors For Inner Ear Infection
Some people are more prone to ear infections. They have frequent problems with inflammation and have to take care more than others. There are some risk factors that can increase the chance of getting inner ear infection:
- History of consuming some medications like aspirin
- History of allergies
- Recent infections of respiratory tract or some viral infection, including ear infections
Prognosis Of Inner Ear Infections
The symptoms can be mild or go to a more severe state where the person has to go to the doctor. Sometimes it can be to a degree when a person can’t get up or walk. It lasts about week or two, but it can go to a chronic phase that may last for weeks. This can also happen if the nerve gets damaged during infection. If you experience vomiting and nausea with heavy dizziness to a level where you can’t move, you should go to the doctor’s. Some conditions can worsen if it prolongs, so it is best to seek for medical attention right away. Elderly people can have more increased symptoms and hearing problems.
Home Remedies For Inner Ear Infection
- Warm Compresses. It helps when you fill up the bottle with warm water and place it on the affected ear. You should cover it with some towel to avoid direct contact due to burning risk. It will help with pain reduction.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. When the ear gets clogged with wax and buildup, the hydrogen peroxide can resolve the buildup, so you can relief the hearing problems. It will hear a loud noise, don’t worry, it will work for a few minutes, after which you can drain it with lukewarm water. A few drops can make a difference.
- Onion. If you make onion juice out of warm water and a few slices of onion, you can make fluid which will help with pain reduction and will also dilute the wax buildup.
- Garlic. Garlic is known for its antibiotic potential, which can be useful if you squeeze a few drops in the ear lobe or make a compress dipped in the alcohol and put the garlic on the fabric and make a compress which can stay a few hours inside the ear.
Drug Treatment For Inner Ear Infection
There are a few types of medications which can help with following symptoms. Such medications are the ones prescribed for vertigo, dizziness like Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Antivert (meclizine) and Ativan (lorazepam). Other medications can include steroids (prednisone), antibiotics (amoxicillin), antiviral drugs (acyclovir). If the symptoms last a long time and progress to a chronical state, vestibular rehabilitation exercises can be recommended. It is a form of physical therapy where the physician evaluates the imbalance and works to get it back. Doctors have to be careful when prescribing drugs when it comes to children. They can be sensitive to antibiotics and form a resistance to a drug. There are also side effects like diarrhea or rash, which can occur in children the most. A doctor will usually wait a few days to see the progression of the condition before prescribing anything.
To Pay Attention
Some symptoms like dizziness and vertigo can influence on daily tasks and reduce the ability to drive or to manage important things. It is important to follow some steps to get better soon:
- Avoid physical activity and rest
- Don’t make sudden moves and move slowly
- Avoid forcing your vision through television, bright lights
- Don’t drive or use some instruments where you can get hurt or hurt others
- Don’t go on a cold air or with wet hair outside.