Next Generation: MS.LS1.8 MS.LS1.8


Author: Aaron Mullally

This lesson will describe how the structure of you ear along with receptors allows you to hear. It will also investigate the ear's role in balance and equilibrium.

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Vestibular System image, Public Domain: http://bit.ly/RPidNA; Bigolith image, Public Domain: http://bit.ly/Q8DAei; Human Ear image, Public Domain: http://bit.ly/VyeXJi; Cochlea image, http://bit.ly/WuGUTA Primary Auditory Cortex Image; Creative Commons: http://bit.ly/Uyty7J

  • Sound

    Mechanical energy that travels in the form of a wave detected by our ears.

  • Mechanoreceptors

    Sensory receptors located in the ear that aid in the process of hearing.

  • Cochlea

    A coiled fluid-filled sac located in the inner ear that plays a role in sorting sound waves.

  • Tympanic Membrane

    A membrane located in the ear that vibrates in response to incoming sound waves. Also known as the “eardrum”.

  • Organ of Corti

    A structure found in the cochlea that contains hair cells, which are mechanoreceptors for sound.

  • Hair Cells

    Mechanoreceptors in the ear for sound.

  • Tectorial Membrane

    A structure in the cochlea with which hair cells interact to produce action potentials.

  • Semicircular Canals

    Three structures of the inner ear that are involved with balance and equilibrium.

  • Vestibular Apparatus

    Composed of the three semicircular canals and two fluid-filled sacs, which monitor equilibrium.

  • Decibels

    Units used to measure the intensity of sound.

  • Otolith Organ

    A part of the vestibular apparatus that help detect changes in the position of the head in space.

  • Auditory Nerve

    A nerve that carries signals from the inner ear to the brain.

  • Round Window

    A membrane that acts as a release valve for pressure.

  • Auditory Canal

    A canal that funnels sound waves from outside the ear toward the middle ear.