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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Reoccuring vestibular neuritis

11/09/2009

Question:

About 7 months ago I developed a sudden onset of dizziness. Not a spinning sensation but a general feeling of unsteadiness. I had a CT scan with dye and an MRI to rule out any injury to the brain. I then was sent to a ENT who told me I had Menieres and had me taking up to 3 diazide a day which presented a world of other issues and never helped the "vertigo". I however had no ringing violent spinning episodial, it was a cinstant feeling of unstaediness. Eventually I found my way to a hearing and balance clinic where I had ENG testing, balancing testing etc as well as a hearing test. I have no hearing loss and the results came back as Vestibular Neuritis. I have been doing VRT for about 10 sessions once a week as well as home exercises. I was about 80% back to normal when it came back. The general feeling of unsteadiness and a bit of nausea. I advised the therapist and I have been advised that this happens in a very small % of people but indeed they can get me back to where I was and get me to the point of complete compensation. I am becoming concerned that I am indeed being taken for a ride and there is no "compensation" possible. I have had every blood test, brain scan etc possible and other than this I am healthy. Any suggestions or ideas.

Answer:

While there are some patients who don't completely recover, that is fortunately a rarer occurrence. Sometimes the recovery can be months or even years in some cases but more typically, the course is weeks to months. Its important to first make sure all issues have been explored. Sometimes central nervous system problems can mimic inner ear problems. A second opinion, an evaluation by a neurologist, might be reasonable steps. If nothing else, it would make you feel more comfortable that all options have been exhausted. Finally, in some neuritis patients, courses of steroids can help symptoms. In other patients, antiviral drugs can also help symptoms (if the neuritis is from a viral infection).

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati