Vestibular Neuronitis

What is Vestibular Neuronitis?

Vestibular neuritis results from an infection that inflames the vestibulo-cochlear nerve (the eighth cranial nerve), which connects the inner ear to the brain. It causes dizziness or vertigo but no change in hearing.

Symptoms of Vestibular Neuronitis

Symptoms of vestibular neuritis can be mild or severe, ranging from subtle dizziness to a violent spinning sensation (vertigo). Symptoms can also include nausea, vomiting, unsteadiness and imbalance, difficulty with vision, and impaired concentration.  At times, the symptoms can be so severe that they affect the ability to stand up or walk.

The onset of symptoms is usually very sudden which is followed by a period of gradual recovery over several weeks. Some people will recover completely but others will have ongoing residual symptoms requiring treatment.

Treatment of Vestibular Neuronitis

For those people who have longer lasting symptoms requiring treatment, vestibular rehabilitation exercises may be helpful to re-train the brain’s ability to adjust to the vestibular imbalance. The exercises are likely to include: exercises to teach the vestibular system alternative strategies to compensate for the lost function; repetition of sensitive movements/activities in a carefully controlled manner; balance re-education and gaze stabilisation exercises.