How the ear's works work

Nature. 1989 Oct 5;341(6241):397-404. doi: 10.1038/341397a0.


The senses of hearing and equilibrium depend on sensory receptors called hair cells which can detect motions of atomic dimensions and respond more than 100,000 times a second. Biophysical studies suggest that mechanical forces control the opening and closing of transduction channels by acting through elastic components in each hair cell's mechanoreceptive hair bundle. Other ion channels, as well as the mechanical and hydrodynamic properties of hair bundles, tune individual hair cells to particular frequencies of stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cochlea / physiology*
  • Ear, Inner / anatomy & histology
  • Ear, Inner / physiology*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Hearing
  • Humans