Labyrinth (inner ear)

Labyrinth (inner ear)

Infobox Anatomy
Latin = labyrinthus vestibularis
GraySubject = 232
GrayPage = 1047

Caption =

Caption2 =
Artery = labyrinthine artery
System =
MeshName = Labyrinth
MeshNumber = A09.246.631
DorlandsPre = l_01
DorlandsSuf = 12474346
:"For more uses of the word labyrinth, see Labyrinth (disambiguation)"

The labyrinth is a system of fluid passages in the inner ear, including both the cochlea which is part of the auditory system, and the vestibular system which provides the sense of balance. It is named by analogy with the mythical maze that imprisoned the Minotaur, because of its appearance.

The vestibule is the region of the inner ear where the semicircular canals converge, close to the cochlea (the hearing organ). The vestibular system works with the visual system to keep objects in focus when the head is moving. Joint and muscle receptors also are important in maintaining balance. The brain receives, interprets, and processes the information from these systems that control our balance.


Interference with or infection of the labyrinth can result in a syndrome of ailments called "Labyrinthitis". The symptoms of Labyrinthitis include temporary nausea, disorientation, vertigo, and dizziness. Labyrinthitis can be caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, physical blockage of the inner ear, or due to decompression sickness.

Anatomical details

"Top image is antero-lateral and bottom image is postero-medial."
# Lateral semicircular canal; 1’, its ampulla;
# Posterior canal; 2’, its ampulla.
# Superior canal; 3’, its ampulla.
# Conjoined limb of superior and posterior canals (sinus utriculi superior).
# Utricle. 5’. Recessus utriculi. 5”. Sinus utriculi posterior.
# Ductus endolymphaticus.
# Canalis utriculosaccularis.
# Nerve to ampulla of superior canal.
# Nerve to ampulla of lateral canal.
# Nerve to recessus utriculi (in top image, the three branches appear conjoined). 10’. Ending of nerve in recessus utriculi.
# Facial nerve.
# Lagena cochleæ.
# Nerve of cochlea within spiral lamina.
# Basilar membrane.
# Nerve fibers to macula of saccule.
# Nerve to ampulla of posterior canal.
# Saccule.
# Secondary membrane of tympanum.
# Canalis reuniens.
# Vestibular end of ductus cochlearis.
# Section of the facial and acoustic nerves within internal acoustic meatus (the separation between them is not apparent in the section).

ee also

* Cochlea
* Vestibular system
* Inner ear
* Endolymph

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Inner ear — There are three sections of the ear. They are the external ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The inner ear is far and away the most highly complex. The essential component of the inner ear for hearing is the membranous labyrinth where the… …   Medical dictionary

  • inner ear — noun a complex system of interconnecting cavities; concerned with hearing and equilibrium • Syn: ↑internal ear, ↑labyrinth • Hypernyms: ↑sense organ, ↑sensory receptor, ↑receptor • Part Holonyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • inner ear — noun The portion of the ear located within the temporal bone which includes the semicircular canals, vestibule, and cochlea and is responsible for hearing and balance. Syn: auris interna, internal ear, labyrinth …   Wiktionary

  • inner ear — see labyrinth …   The new mediacal dictionary

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  • Labyrinth (disambiguation) — The Labyrinth was an elaborate maze in Greek mythology constructed by the artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur.Labyrinth may also mean:* Labyrinth (film), a 1986 fantasy film directed by Jim Henson ** Labyrinth (album), the soundtrack to the… …   Wikipedia

  • ear — ear1 [ir] n. [ME ere < OE ēare akin to Goth ausō, Ger ohr < IE base * ous , ear > L auris, Gr ous, OIr au] 1. the part of the body specialized for the perception of sound; organ of hearing: the human ear consists of the external ear, the …   English World dictionary

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