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Labyrinthitis is a condition that affects your inner ear. It can cause vertigo and dizziness. It may also make you feel sick (nausea) and be sick (vomit). You might also have some hearing loss or a ringing sound in your ears (tinnitus). For more information see the section on ‘what is labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis?’
If you have labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, you’ll usually start to feel better after a few days of rest. But it can take several weeks for your symptoms to go completely.
You shouldn’t drive if you have symptoms of labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, such as dizziness and vertigo. You also shouldn’t operate any machinery.
You should inform the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) if you have labyrinthitis, dizziness or vertigo.
You should also tell your motor insurer about your labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.
If you feel dizzy, it means you may feel light-headed or unsteady. You can feel dizzy without having vertigo.
Vertigo is a more specific feeling that you, or things around you, are spinning even when you’re still. Vertigo is caused by problems affecting your inner ear, or the parts of your nervous system that control balance.
Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis aren’t contagious. This means you can’t catch them directly from someone who already has them. But you may catch infections such as a cold or flu from someone else, that can then trigger viral labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.
Flying with labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis or any ear infection isn’t ideal. The changes in air pressure, and changes in motion and lighting can make you feel worse. It doesn’t mean you definitely can’t travel, but it may be uncomfortable.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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