The Cochlea

The inner ear houses the cochlea, which consists of a bony tube coiled in a tight spiral (see Figs. 2 to 4). The inside of the tube is partitioned longitudinally by two continuous membrane sheets, Reissner's membrane and the basilar membrane. This divides the main cochlear tube into two large ducts filled with perilymph; the scala vestibuli, bounded by Reissner's membrane; and the scala tympani, bounded by the basilar membrane. The separation between the two membranes forms a third, smaller cavity filled with endolymph called the scala media, which contains the auditory receptor cells. At the base of the cochlea, each of the two larger scalae is separated from the middle ear by small membranes: the scala vestibuli by the oval window, and the scala tympani by the round window. At the apex of the cochlea, the two scalae are connected by a hole in the basilar membrane, called the helicotrema, which allows the perilymph fluid contents of these two scalae to mix with each other but not with the endolymph fluid of the scala media.

53. The Auditory System

A. Sound is due to changes in air pressure high low high low high low high low

B. Five octaves of Cs

B. Five octaves of Cs

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