The labyrinth is the portion of the inner ear that controls your body's sense of balance, in addition to its role in hearing. An infection of this organ can lead to a condition known as labyrinthitis (LAB-IH-RINTH-ITIS). Because the labyrinth has two functions, symptoms of the disease can involve hearing conditions such as tinnitis (TIN-IT-US), or ringing in the ears, and also balancing problems including vertigo and nausea. An infection in the labyrinth can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. If the cause is bacterial, it may be an infection spread from the middle ear, which also should be examined. Labyrinthitis should be treated immediately to prevent possible permanent damage. An ear, nose and throat specialist can prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection.