Normal inner ear hair cells, SEM

Normal inner ear hair cells, SEM

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Credit: DR GORAN BREDBERG/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Normal inner ear hair cells. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of specialised hair cells connected to nerve cells within the inner ear. These are the outer hair cells (stereocilia) that line the organ of Corti, the auditory sense organ inside the cochlea. Sound waves entering the inner ear displace the fluid surrounding the stereocilia, causing them to bend and trigger nerve impulses. This process transmits information about the loudness and pitch of a sound. For an image of age-related damage to the stereocilia, see M157/088.

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