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Clinical Anatomy Of The Inner Ear

The inner ear is the deepest part of the whole ear, and is located in a place known as the bony labyrinth, which is a maze of bone passageways lined by a network of fleshy tubes known as the membranous labyrinth. A cushion of fluid, called perilymph, lies between the bony and membranous labyrinth, while a fluid called endolymph is found within the membranous labyrinth itself.

The inner ear consists of;

• Cochlea : dedicated to hearing

The cochlea is a bony, spiral-shaped chamber that contains the cochlear duct of the membranous labyrinth. The sense of hearing is provided by receptors within the cochlear duct. A pair of perilymph-filled chambers is found on each side of the duct. The entire apparatus makes turns around a central bony hub, much like a snail shell.

• Vestibular system : dedicated to balance

The vestibule contains a pair of membranous sacs: the saccule (sacculus) and the utricle (utriculus). Receptors in the vestibule provide for sensations of gravity and linear acceleration.

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(The inner ear is innervated by the eighth cranial nerve in all vertebrates.)

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