Labyrinthitis happens when a part of the inner ear called the labyrinth becomes swollen. Viruses or bacteria can cause it. Risk factors for labyrinthitis include head injuries, allergies, stress, some medicines, and alcohol or tobacco use.


Labyrinthitis can make it hard to hear. It can cause a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear too. It also can cause a person to lose balance or to feel a sense of spinning. Other labyrinthitis symptoms can include twitching or jerking of the eye, upset stomach, and vomiting.


A person with labyrinthitis may need more than one treatment. Often, medicines called steroids can lessen the swelling in the inner ear. If a virus causes labyrinthitis, drugs called antivirals can help treat it. If bacteria are the cause, medicines called antibiotics or surgery may be needed. Vestibular therapy exercises can improve balance.