The labyrinth is a system of fluid passages in the inner ear, comprising the semicircular canals and the vestibule, which provides the sense of balance. It is named by analogy with the mythical maze that imprisoned the Minotaur, because of its appearance.
Three structures of the labyrinth, the semicircular canals, let us know when we are in a rotary (circular) motion. The semicircular canals, the superior, posterior, and horizontal, are filled with fluid. Motion of the fluid tells us if we are moving. The semicircular canals and the visual and skeletal systems have specific functions that determine an individual's orientation. The vestibule is the region of the inner ear where the semicircular canals converge, close to the cochlea (the hearing organ). The vestibular system works with the visual system to keep objects in focus when the head is moving. Joint and muscle receptors also are important in maintaining balance. The brain receives, interprets, and processes the information from these systems that control our balance.