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Also known as Vestibular Neuronitis, it is the second most common inner ear or vestibular problem, after BPPV. This is inflammation caused by an infection in the inner ear organs or the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. Vestibular neuritis can be either viral or bacterial. The medical management may vary based on the suspected cause of the infection, so some combination of anti-viral medications, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. Common symptoms include sudden severe imbalance, vertigo, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Hearing is not usually affected. Preceding events may include stomach flu or GI bug, upper respiratory infection or cold sore(s) around the mouth or lips. Vestibular rehabilitation physical therapy is highly effective to support a full recovery in 4-6 weeks if any dizziness, vertigo, or balance problems linger. A history of vestibular neuritis can result in:

  • (1) chronic vestibulopathy for people who do not fully recover
  • (2) recurrent BPPV in the ear that was infected
  • (3) vestibular hypofunction if the neuritis caused permanent damage to the inner ear.


This blog is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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