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What are the causes of labyrinthitis?

Although it might sound strange, the fluid in the channels of the labyrinth moves when an individual tilts their head, alerting the brain how far, fast and what direction the head is moving in. This then allows the body to balance properly.

The labyrinth also contains a small, spiral-shaped cavity known as the cochlea. This is responsible for sending sound waves to the language processing areas of the brain. Inflammation within this area can disrupt its ability to function properly, leading to hearing loss.

On the other hand, the vestibular system works in a similar way to a stereo, with the left and right ears sending separate signals to the brain. If one ear becomes infected, these signals become out of sync, which confuses the brain and triggers symptoms such as dizziness and loss of balance.

Over half the cases of labyrinthitis are what is known as viral labyrinthitis, which is thought to be caused by a viral infection either to the chest, nose, mouth or airways. This is typically caused by the common cold or flu.


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