Our ability to hear depends on a complex series of events that occur in the ear. Sound waves in the air are transmitted as vibrations through a series of structures to the receptor for hearing, the organ of Corti in the inner ear. Inside the organ of Corti, these physical vibrations are detected by sensory hair cells, which respond by producing electrical signals. Nerves carry these signals to the brain, where they are interpreted. Sounds of different frequencies stimulate hair cells in different parts of the organ of Corti, allowing us to perceive the subtleties of sounds such as speech and music.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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