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Anatomy of the Inner Ear

Close-up of ear showing inner ear structures.

There are two parts of the inner ear. One part (or canal) is for hearing. The other part (or canal) is for balance.

The canals are filled with a fluid called endolymph. The level of this fluid is maintained by a small organ called the endolymphatic sac. In the hearing canal, sound waves cause vibrations in the endolymph. the inner ear detects these sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain. The sound we hear is a result of the brain's interpretation of these nerve impulses.

In the balance canals, change in position causes movement of the fluid. This movement is detected in the balance portion of the inner ear, and nerve impulses are sent to the brain.

Image of the inner ear structures including the endolymphatic sac, the balance canals, the hearing canal and the hearing and balance nerve.


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