Signs & Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems


The inner ear consists of a series of fluid-filled passages within the ear, responsible for both hearing and balance. Problems within the the inner ear vary from person to person, but are usually typified by dizziness, nausea, hearing problems or ringing sounds in the ear.

Doctor looking in ear
Doctor looking in ear (Image: Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images)

Inner Ear Structure

The inner ear comprises of two main parts. The first is the “cochlea”, a coiled, snail-like member responsible for hearing. The second section is known as the vestibular system, which controls the sense of balance.

Man's ear
Man's ear (Image: b-d-s/iStock/Getty Images)


Tinnitus is the medical term given to “ringing” in the ears. It can be a symptom of ear or sinus infection, fluid build-up, or noise damage in the inner ear.

Doctor examining ear and horizontal
Doctor examining ear and horizontal (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss suggests there is an obstruction or damage to the cochlea. This can occur as a result of acoustic trauma, an inner ear infection, or the natural aging process.

Man listening
Man listening (Image: Brian Jackson/iStock/Getty Images)

Dizzyness and Nausea

Dizzyness and nausea are common symptoms of labyrinthitis, or inner ear infection. More severe cases of infection may also include vomiting, tinnitus, and hearing loss.

Woman feeling dizzy with legs up
Woman feeling dizzy with legs up (Image: Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images)


A feeling of pressure in the ear canal is a common symptom. It is often due to the inflammation resulting from infection, or a build up of excess fluid in the vestibules.

Woman's ear
Woman's ear (Image: Alexandre Nunes/Hemera/Getty Images)

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