The decision to create this website about labyrinthitis came from the frustration with the lack of information or support, anywhere, about labyrinthitis. I want to validate labyrinthitis sufferers by sharing my story and recovery, from this extremely debilitating illness. All too often I hear of people suffering for months or years with labyrinthitis, when it is completely unnecessary. There is a way to recover from Labyrinthitis, unfortunately health care professionals such as GP’s do not have enough knowledge to direct people to the correct treatment; Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy.
I am now dedicating my time to helping others overcome labyrinthitis and get their lives back. I have a BSC (Hons) in Psychology, am currently training to become a psychotherapist and I am a qualified Physiotherapy/ Physical Therapy Assistant; so I can treat vestibular issues. I am the author of ‘Recover from Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis..Finally!’ about the management and recovery of chronic labyrinthitis. I have also written numerous online articles about Labyrinthitis on websites such as http://ezinearticles.com/, which I have posted on this website.
Most cases of labyrinthitis clear up on their own in about 2 weeks. Some cases of labyrinthitis can continue for up to 16 weeks but for some unfortunate individuals such as myself and possibly you, labyrinthitis can be indefinite without the correct treatment. General Practitioners (GP’s) will more often than not, prescribe medication for labyrinthitis such as Stemetil or Serc to ‘dumb down’ the dizziness while the body attacks the virus on its own. In the instances where the brain compensates for the dizziness labyrinthitis causes this medication can help, but for uncompensated labyrinthitis medication does little to alleviate the symptoms in the long term. If your labyrinthitis has been longer than the average period of labyrinthitis, GP’s may refer you to an ENT specialist (ears, nose, throat). However, in my experience many sufferers cannot find answers from the ENT specialist. This is because they will give their opinion based on the range of subjective symptoms described, but they cannot directly assess the inner ear. To receive a correct diagnosis you must attend an audiologist for a balance assessment and Caloric tests. Caloric tests directly examine the inner ear for damage, thus being the only way of receiving as accurate diagnosis. You can be referred to an audiologist by an ENT specialist, or you can contact them directly yourself to arrange an appointment.
The ENT specialist or the audiologist can at this stage refer you to a physiotherapist for Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). The name sounds more ominous than it is. VRT is simply a set of gentle exercises to aid the brain to compensate for the dizziness. An example would be walking with head movements or balancing on one leg. It may sound very simple but for chronic labyrinthitis VRT is the only way to recover. Sufferers sometimes try VRT but give up too quickly, or believe that because their symptoms can initially increase it is not working for them. However Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is the best tool at our disposal and how we can reclaim our lives.
ENT specialists and GP’s are not quick to inform labyrinthitis sufferers about VRT. In my experience it is because many of them do not actually know much about VRT (remembering that they are ‘general’ practitioners so do not have in-depth knowledge on all illnesses) or they feel medication is the best treatment for labyrinthitis . I had actually heard of VRT while my labyrinthitis symptoms were acute, but I assumed that because my doctor had never mentioned it to me that I was not a candidate for it or that VRT was for really really severe cases of labyrinthitis .
You do not need to wait for the ENT Specialist to refer you to a physiotherapist as this can take months. Find a physiotherapist in your area that specializes in VRT and make an appointment. I really urge anyone reading this page that does not seem to be recovering from labyrinthitis within the ‘usuaul’ time frame, to contact a physiotherapist in your area who specializes in VRT. I have listed some clinics in Ireland on this website for your convenience.
If the anxiety/ depression & panic attacks from labyrinthitis are hard to cope with, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps with managing these symptoms. A few great books to read to help you recover are:
‘When panic attacks’ by Dr Aine Tubridy
‘Self Help for Your Nerves’ by Dr. Claire Weeks
Recover from Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis – Finally! by Marian Groome
There is excellent professional help out there and you will come out the other side of labyrinthitis but you need to take matters into your own hands.