Inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear. The disorder is nearly always brought on by a viral infection, which can arise during illnesses, such as influenza or the common cold. Less frequently, labyrinthitis can be brought on by a bacterial infection, as a complication of otitis media (middle ear infection).
The main symptom is vertigo. Vomiting, nausea, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), nystagmus (jerky, abnormal eye movements), and hearing loss can also take place.
Viral labyrinthitis heals up on its own, but symptoms can be elevated by antiemetic drugs. Bacterial labyrinthitis needs treatment immediately with antibiotic drugs, or irreversible deafness or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain) can result.