JACOPIN / BSIP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JACOPIN / BSIP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of hearing, journey of the sound wave in the ear. The sound wave is captured by the auricle, penetrates in the auditory canal, vibrates the eardrum membrane, which in turn vibrates the ossicles (malleus, incus, stapes). The vibration of the stapes make the fenestra vestibuli membrane vibrate which causes hydraulic waves in the cochlea perilympha (blue), applying pressure on the endolymph inside the cochlea channel, moving the basilar membrane (pink), causing the hair cells to move against the tectorial membrane, producing a nerve impulse in the cochlea nerve fibres (yellow). This nerve impulse moves to the auditory nerve and carries the message to the auditory area of the brain, which analyses the data and enables us to hear the sound. Wearing headphones for a prolonged amount of time, at too high a volume, can damage the hair cells irreversibly.
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