HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Human ear anatomy. Computer artwork of the structure of the human ear, showing the outer ear (left), middle ear and inner ear (right). The ear drum (tympanic membrane, blue) separates the inner and middle ear, and transmits sound to the ossicles. This system of tiny bones transmits sound from the air-filled middle ear to the fluid filled cochlea (coiled, centre right) in the inner ear. The cochlea contains the organ of corti (lower right enlargement), which contains rows of hair cells topped with stereocilia. These cilia touch the tectorial membrane and detect tiny movements caused by sound-induced pressures in the inner ear fluids, which are translated into nerve impulses that travel to the brain, where they are deciphered as sound.
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