A 'labyrinthine fistula is an abnormal opening in the bony capsule of the inner ear. A type of labyrintine fistula known as a perilymph fistula, is an abnormal connection between the fluid of the inner ear and the air filled middle ear. Another type, is a semicircular canal dehiscence which allows the inner ear to be influenced by the intracranial pressure directly. These can also be congenital or develop over time with the thinning of the otic capsule by the persistent pulsations of the intracranial pressures against the bones of the skull. Finally, disease conditions eg: choleasteatoma can result in a labyrinthine fistula.
It is a cause of dizziness, imbalance, and hearing loss. Any or all of these symptoms can exist as result of a perilymph fistula (PLF). Vertigo (an illusion of motion) is not common in this disorder. The most common cause of this fistula is head or ear trauma. Rapid increases of intracranial pressure can also result in a PLF. Rarely, these fistulas can be congenital, leading to progressive hearing loss and vertigo in childhood. It has also been a complication of a stapedectomy.