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Vestibular neuritis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve,
which is located in the inner ear and carries balance signals from the inner
ear to the brain. When this nerve is inflamed, it causes vertigo, which is a
feeling of motion when there is no actual movement.
Vestibular neuritis often follows a cold or upper respiratory
infection, which suggests that it is caused by a virus. It may also be caused by
conditions that affect the circulatory system (blood flow) and the brain and
central nervous system. Vestibular neuritis usually occurs in just one ear at a
Vertigo, the main symptom of vestibular neuritis, appears suddenly
and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Vertigo usually lasts for
several days or weeks. In a few cases, it can take months to go away entirely.
Vestibular neuritis does not lead to loss of hearing.
The inflammation that causes vestibular neuritis usually goes away
on its own. The usual treatment is to rest until vertigo symptoms go away.
Severe symptoms of vertigo may be reduced with medicines, such as
antihistamines or sedatives.
October 3, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD, MD - Neurology
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