Vestibular neuronitis, also called Vestibular neuritis, can be a paroxysmal, single attack of vertigo, a series of attacks, or a persistent condition which diminishes over three to six weeks. It may be associated with nausea, vomiting, and previous upper respiratory tract infections. It generally has no auditory symptoms, unlike labyrinthitis. Vestibular neuronitis may also be associated with eye nystagmus. It is caused by inflammation of the vestibular nerve, the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.
Vestibular Neuronitis is thought to be caused by a viral infection of the vestibular nerve that runs from the inner ear to the brainstem. It is not known which virus in particular causes this problem, and in fact many different viruses may be capable of infecting the vestibular nerve. Some patients will report having an upper respiratory infection (common cold) or a flu prior to the onset of the symptoms of vestibular neuronitis, others will have no viral symptoms prior to the vertigo attack.
The main symptom of vestibular neuronitis is vertigo, which appears suddenly, often with nausea and vomiting. Vertigo usually lasts for several days or weeks. In rare cases it can take months to go away entirely. Vestibular neuronitis does not lead to loss of hearing.