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Hair cells: the sound-sensing cells in the ear

Henning Horn, Brian Burke and Colin Stewart, Institute of Medical Biology, Agency for Science, Technology,
and Research, Singapore

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Hair cells 

These cells get their name from the hairlike structures that extend from them into the fluid-filled tube of the inner ear. When sound reaches the ear, the hairs bend and the cells convert this movement into signals that are relayed to the brain. When we pump up the music in our cars or join tens of thousands of cheering fans at a football stadium, the noise can make the hairs bend so far that they actually break, resulting in long-term hearing loss.

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This page last reviewed on August 30, 2017