The key difference between vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis is that vestibular neuritis is a problem of the inner ear that occurs due to the inflammation of the vestibular nerve, while labyrinthitis is a problem of the inner ear due to inflammation of the labyrinth.
Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are two closely related inner ear problems that show similar symptoms. Both conditions happen due to inflammations. Viral infections are the main cause of both types of inflammations. Hence, they are also called viral vestibular neuritis and viral labyrinthitis. Vestibular neuritis occurs due to the inflammation of the vestibular nerve. Labyrinthitis occurs due to the inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear. Vestibular neuritis affects the balance of a person, while labyrinthitis affects both balance and hearing.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Vestibular Neuritis
3. What is Labyrinthitis
4. Similarities – Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis
5. Vestibular Neuritis vs Labyrinthitis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Vestibular Neuritis vs Labyrinthitis
What is Vestibular Neuritis?
Vestibular nerve is the nerve that sends information about the balance and head position from the inner ear to the brain. Vestibular neuritis is a problem caused due to an inflammation of the vestibular nerve. As a result of inflammation, the nerve and its branches become swollen. Inflammation is mainly caused due to a viral infection in the inner ear. A viral infection in some other place in the body can also be responsible for the inflammation of a vestibular nerve.
Patients often experience dizziness and balance problems when they suffer from vestibular neuritis. These symptoms can last for several months. Unlike labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis is not related to hearing problems. Vestibular neuritis is a treatable condition. Most patients achieve complete recovery after proper medication.
What is Labyrinthitis?
Labyrinth is a part of the ear that contains sensory organs for balance (equilibrium) and hearing. Labyrinthitis is a problem in the inner ear caused by the inflammation of the labyrinth. When the labyrinth is affected, it affects hearing. The inflammation of the labyrinth occurs due to viral infections such as cold or flu. Therefore, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics. They usually prescribe antihistamines or motion-sickness tablets. The symptoms of labyrinthitis are similar to vestibular neuritis. They include spinning sensation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, inability to concentrate, etc. Two major symptoms of labyrinthitis are hearing loss and tinnitus.
What are the Similarities Between Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis?
- Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are two conditions caused in the inner ear due to viral infections.
- Both conditions arise as a result of an inflammation of two different parts of the inner ear.
- The symptoms of both conditions are very similar.
- They affect the balance of the person.
- Patients experience instances of spinning sensation, dizziness, and nausea.
- Both conditions are treatable, and many patients recover even without treatment within a few weeks.
- Both these conditions are unlikely to reoccur.
What is the Difference Between Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis?
Vestibular neuritis refers to the inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear, while labyrinthitis refers to the inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear. So, this is the key difference between vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis. Vestibular neuritis does not affect hearing, while labyrinthitis affects hearing.
The below infographic lists the differences between vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Vestibular Neuritis vs Labyrinthitis
Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are two conditions occurring due to viral infections that cause inflammations in the inner ear. In vestibular neuritis, the vestibular nerve becomes infected, while in labyrinthitis, the labyrinth becomes infected. Thus, this is the key difference between vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis. They cause very similar symptoms such as spinning sensation, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, balance problems, etc. Most importantly, labyrinth inflammation is related to hearing problems. Both conditions may resolve without treatment within a few weeks. However, if the symptoms last for a few weeks and more, proper treatments are necessary.