Labyrinthitis is an infection of the labyrinth that produces peripheral vertigo associated with hearing loss. The precise etiology is often unknown. The infection may be viral, in which case the clinical course is similar to that of vestibular neuronitis. Cases have reportedly been associated with measles and mumps. Bacteria may also cause labyrinthitis. Although unusual, an infection within the labyrinth can develop from otitis media, in which bacteria and toxins diffuse across the membrane of the round window. A cholesteatoma can erode into the inner ear, creating a portal of entry for bacteria. Other possible antecedents for bacterial labyrinthitis include otitis media with fistula, meningitis, mastoiditis, and dermoid tumor. The hallmarks of this disease include sudden onset of vertigo with associated hearing loss and middle ear findings. Serous labyrinthitis may occasionally produce vertigo.
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