cochlear hair cells

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The sound-sensing cells of the organ of Corti in the inner ear which have stereocilia (hairs: see stereovillus) on their apical surfaces that convert mechanical distortion (shear forces in the endolymph of the cochlea caused by sound waves) into an electrical signal, by opening ion channels in the membrane. The frequency of the sound is detected partly by the position of the responding cells in the cochlea, although individual hair cells apparently resonate at particular frequencies, enhancing the sensitivity of the auditory system. The inner hair cells are responsible for sound perception, the outer hair cells oscillate in response to electrical potential changes induced by the inner hair cells (see prestin) and improve the frequency discrimination.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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