The labyrinth is a complex structure that is located deep inside the ear; it is made up a network of tiny channels that contain fluid and is responsible for controlling balance and hearing. Labyrinthitis occurs when the labyrinth becomes inflamed; this may result from a bacterial or viral infection (viral infections are commonly the cause but some cases are caused by bacterial infections.)

Symptoms of labryinthitis

Labyrinthitis affects your balance and hearing; common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feelings similar to vertigo
  • Lack of balance (especially on the side of the affected ear)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mild or moderate loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the neck
  • Nystagmus (subconscious flickering of the eyes)

Treating labyrinthitis

Bacterial labyrinthitis is usually treated effectively with a course of antibiotics. Viral cases usually heal naturally within a couple of weeks; during this time you should get plenty of rest and take in lots of fluid. You may also be prescribed medication to help with nausea and dizziness.

Guide to Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions

Ear, Nose and Throat



Glue ear

Infectious mononucleosis




Staying healthy