Our ability to hear depends on the sensory organs of the inner ear, including a snail-shaped structure called the cochlea. It contains sensory cells — called hair cells — that sense vibrations in the air and send electrical signals to the brain, allowing us to perceive sound. This image shows the cochlea of a neonatal mouse, with hair cells in red. Scientists have found that signals from brainstem nerve fibers (green) are important for the normal development and function of hair cells.
Alexis is the science writer and editor for BrainFacts.org. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 with degrees in neuroscience and English.
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