Inner Ear Condition Vocabulary

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  • 00:00 The Inner Ear
  • 00:40 Labyrinthitis,…
  • 1:49 Tinnitus
  • 3:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever had that annoying ringing in your ears? Do you know what that's called and why it occurs? You can learn about that and vertigo here as we look at conditions involving the inner ear.

The Inner Ear

Go ahead and try and stand on one leg while looking at an object in front of you. This isn't all that hard for most people. Now close your eyes and try to do the same thing. A little bit harder, isn't it? Why? It's because the visual stimulus that helps keep you upright is gone.

However, you can still stay upright even without any visual stimulus. Do you know why? Part of the answer has to do with the inner ear, the part of the ear most directly responsible for transmitting sound information to the brain and for proper balance.

Balance and sound are two core concepts at the root of conditions that involve the inner ear, ones I'm about to define for you.

Labyrinthitis, Vertigo, & Meniere's

Ear infections come in three general types affecting different parts of the ear, including the outer, middle, and inner ear. Inflammation of the inner ear, commonly as a result of an infection, is called otitis interna or labyrinthitis. 'Oto-' stands for 'ear,' '-itis' stands for 'inflammation,' and 'labyrinth' is basically a term that encompasses the different components of the inner ear.

Because the inner ear is so important for hearing and balance, labyrinthitis can result in vertigo and eventually, deafness. Vertigo is a term for the sensation that one's surroundings are or one's own self is spinning when neither is actually true. Vertigo is a type of dizziness, but not the only kind. Vertigo can cause nausea, vomiting, and a loss of balance.

Vertigo, as well as fluctuating hearing loss, are also components of something called Meniere's disease, a disease that is thought to be caused by an abnormal volume of the fluid found in the inner ear, such that it causes attacks of hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus.


Tinnitus is just a lovely word, isn't it? Tinnitus (also pronounced tin-EYE-tus) is a ringing, clicking, roaring, or buzzing sound occurring in one or both ears. And you know what's really cool? There are actually two different types of tinnitus. One is called objective tinnitus and the other is called subjective tinnitus.

Subjective tinnitus, the one most people know about, means only the patient can hear these sounds, and this is the most common form of tinnitus, one that is typically associated with hearing loss. But don't get me wrong. Just because you have subjective tinnitus, that doesn't mean you are experiencing hearing loss. Other causes of subjective tinnitus include ear infections along the lines of what we discussed before, head trauma, impacted ear wax, and tumors.

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