What is Vestibular Neuritis?

woman dissolving and spinning into the background

Vestibular neuritis, also known as vestibular neuronitis, is a medical condition that affects the inner ear and the vestibular nerve, leading to symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and balance problems. It is typically characterised by a sudden and severe onset of vertigo, which is a spinning sensation often accompanied by nausea and imbalance.


The condition is believed to be caused by inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which is responsible for transmitting signals related to balance and spatial orientation from the inner ear to the brain. Vestibular neuritis can result from viral infections, such as the herpes simplex virus, or it may occur spontaneously without a clear infection.


Common symptoms of vestibular neuritis include:

  1. Vertigo: a sensation of spinning or whirling, often triggered by head movements.
  2. Nausea and vomiting: due to the intense dizziness.
  3. Imbalance and unsteadiness: difficulty maintaining balance, walking, or standing.
  4. Nystagmus: involuntary, rapid eye movements, typically occurring during episodes of vertigo.
  5. Hearing changes: some individuals may experience mild hearing loss or changes in hearing, although it is primarily a balance disorder.

Vestibular neuritis is usually a self-limiting condition, meaning it tends to improve on its own over time as the inflammation subsides. Treatment may include medications to manage symptoms like nausea and dizziness during the acute phase. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy, a type of physical therapy, can also be beneficial in helping the brain adapt to balance issues. In most cases, individuals with vestibular neuritis can recover and regain their balance function over weeks to months. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on managing this condition. Contact us today.