FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sensory hair cell in the ear. Artwork showing a section through part of the cochlea, the inner ear's auditory sense organ. The hair-like cells (grey) at upper centre are stereocilia. A crescent-shaped group of stereocilia sits above a single hair cell (blue). Sound waves entering the inner ear displace the endolymph fluid that surrounds the stereocilia, causing them to bend. This triggers a response in the hair cells, which release neurotransmitter chemicals that generate nerve impulses. The nerve impulses travel to the brain along the auditory nerve. This process transmits information about the loudness and pitch of a sound.
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