The cochlea is a spiral-shaped tunnel in the bony labyrinth of the inner ear. Its principal component is a strip of sensory tissue (red) called the organ of Corti. The organ of Corti is lined with rows of auditory hair cells. Hair bundles that project from the hair cells are deflected in response to sound-induced vibrations in the basilar membrane. This bending opens mechanically gated ion channels, initiating the conversation of the sound-induced mechanical stimulus into an electrical transmission.
By M’hamed Grati and Bechara Kachar, NIDCD/NIH