2007 Sensory Physiology

Outer hair cell function

  • although both types of hair cells generate receptor potentials, they perform different functions:
    • INNER HAIR CELLS are the sensory receptors that are responsible for ~95% of the afferent information sent to the CNS
    • OUTER HAIR CELLS can contract, and therefore act as motor units that amplify the movement of the basilar membrane in response to a stimulus - some of this added energy is transmitted back through the middle ear, where it can be recorded as an otoacoustic emission
      • think of a swing: if a person sitting on a swing (basilar membrane) pumps his legs (OHC), the amplitude of the swing motion is increased in response to a push (sound stimulus)
IHC and OHC function


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