Inner ear

The inner ear performs frequency analysis of the incoming sounds. The spectral components of a complex sound are separated along the basilar membrane according to their frequency. Each frequency attains its maximal amplitude at a different location on the basilar membrane, the highest frequencies at the base of the cochlea and the lowest at its apex.

Mechanical vibration is converted into electrical energy by the sensory-specific transducing cells of the organ of Corti, the hair cells.

Amplification mechanisms for sound may produce an effective amplification of around 180:

x 2: pinna and external auditory canal x 30: tympanic membrane x 3: ossicles

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