What is endolymph?

Endolymph is a fluid located deep in the inner ear that is essential to normal hearing, as well as balance and movement. The inner ear has two main sections, the bony labyrinth and the membranous labyrinth. Endolymph is located in the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear. This fluid bathes the sensory cells of the inner ear and allows them to function normally.

In a normal inner ear, endolymph contains specific concentrations of certain electrolytes, including sodium, potassium and chloride, and the fluid level is maintained at a constant volume. When there are abnormalities in the amount or composition of endolymph, or the pressure of the fluid, certain problems can result. For example, in Ménière’s disease, a buildup of endolymph in the labyrinth interferes with normal balance and hearing signals between the inner ear and the brain, leading to vertigo and other symptoms of Ménière’s disease.

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