The Inner Ear

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Discussion of the inner ear
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The Inner Ear

The inner ear can be thought of astwo organs: the semicircular canals which serve as the body's balance organ and the cochlea which serves as the body's microphone, converting sound pressure impulses from theouter ear into electrical impulses which are passed on to the brain via theauditory nerve.

The basilar membrane of the inner ear plays a critical role in the perception of pitch according to the place theory.

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The Semicircular Canals

The semicircular canals are the body's balance organs, detecting acceleration in the three perpendicular planes. These accelerometers make use of hair cells similar to those on the organ of Corti, but these haircells detect movements of thefluid in the canals causedby angular acceleration about an axis perpendicularto the plane of the canal.Tiny floating particles aidthe process of stimulating the hair cells as they movewith the fluid. The canalsare connected to the auditory nerve.

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