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How do I Choose the Best Inner Ear Infection Treatment?

A.E. Freeman
Updated May 17, 2024
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An inner ear infection, such as labyrinthitis, which occurs when the labyrinth becomes irritated, can sometimes follow an infection of the middle ear or a respiratory infection. In most cases, antibiotics are not an effective inner ear infection treatment because the infection is usually caused by a virus. Typically, inner ear infection treatment involves treating the symptoms of the infection rather than the cause itself. If you have an inner ear infection, you may take anti-nausea medications, sedatives, or antihistamines to help you cope with the symptoms.

One inner ear infection treatment is scopolamine, a small patch that you place on the skin behind your ear. Scopolamine helps treat vertigo caused by an inner ear infection and prevents vomiting. One downside of scopolomine is that it can lead to headaches, nausea, and dizziness if you use it for more than three days and then stop.

Antihistamines, such as those used to treat allergies or motion sickness, are another inner ear infection treatment that reduces nausea and vomiting. They can also reduce the dizziness that comes with vertigo. Dimenhydrinate, one type of antihistamine, blocks acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, than can make you dizzy. Drowsiness is a common side effect of antihistamines, so they may not work well if you need to stay alert and awake.

Depending on the severity of your vertigo, nausea, and vomiting, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication for your inner ear infection treatment. In some cases, you may need to go on prednisone, a type of corticosteroid. Some people find relief from nausea and vomiting caused by labryinthtis by taking sedatives such as diazepam and lorazepam. Antienemtics such as promethazine and prochlorperazin can also treat nausea and vomiting caused by vertigo and an inner ear infection in severe cases.

If the nausea, vertigo, and other symptoms do not negatively impact your life, you may be able to skip treatment for an inner ear infection and have the infection clear up on its own. Being active and exercising can also help you overcome symptoms of vertigo caused by an inner ear infection. In some cases, if the inner ear infection follows a middle ear infection and is caused by bacteria, you may be able to treat it with antibiotics, which your doctor will need to prescribe. It's important that you finish the course, even if you feel better before you've taken all your medicine, to keep the infection from recurring.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.
Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Sep 02, 2014

@ocelot60- Yes, I have used warm compresses when I've had an inner ear infection, and they do help. So do cool compresses when you have this type of infection in the summer. I think both types of compresses ease the symptoms, but they don't do anything to treat the infection. You still need to see a doctor for that.

By Ocelot60 — On Sep 01, 2014

Has anyone else heard that using warm compresses on the outside of the ears also helps to calm ear pain from an inner ear infection?

By Heavanet — On Sep 01, 2014

I had an inner ear infection last year, and the vertigo, nausea, and vomiting were worse than my ear symptoms. My doctor gave me medications to treat both, which was a big help.

My best advice for anyone who thinks he or she may be having symptoms of an inner ear infection is to get treatment as soon as possible. This will help prevent the uncomfortable symptoms from getting worse.

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
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