Schematic diagram illustrating the dynamics of the three divisions of the ear. The cochlear duct is shown here as if straightened. Sound waves are collected and transmitted from the external ear to the middle ear, where they are converted into mechanical vibrations. The mechanical vibrations are then converted at the oval window into fluid vibrations within the internal ear. Fluid vibrations cause dis placement of the basilar membrane on which rest the auditory sensory hair cells. Such displacement leads to stimulation of the hair cells and a discharge of neural impulses from them. (Modified from Karmody CS. Textbook of Otolaryngology. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1983.)
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