BSIP ESTIOT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP ESTIOT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ear structure. Artwork showing the functional areas of the middle and inner ear superimposed on a face. Sounds in the air are channeled into the middle ear, where they meet the eardrum (grey, centre). The eardrum vibrates, and the three small bones it is linked to (yellow, centre) transmit the vibrations to the cochlea (blue, centre right) in the inner ear. This translates sounds of different frequencies into nerve impulses for the brain to analyse. The ear is also the organ of balance: the semicircular canals (pink, centre right) contain fluid and sensitive hairs, and the movement of the fluid over the hairs informs the brain of the head's movements.
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