The Inner Ear

Topics: Ear, Pathologic nystagmus, Neurology Pages: 8 (2962 words) Published: September 1, 2006
The Inner Ear

The inner ear which contains the a very important part of the hearing mechanism. This fluid-filled, snail-shaped cochlea purpose is to translate incoming sound waves into electrical signals so that the brain can understand its surroundings. The cochlea which is a Latin word for snailed-shell is a coiled, tapered tube containing the auditory branch of the inner ear. Its core component is the Organ of Corti, that is a cellular layer sitting on top of the basilar membrane for the sensory organ of hearing. The tube of the cochlea is divided into three chambers (upper, middle, and lower) that spiral around a bony core, the scala vestibuli the upper chamber, scala media the middle chamber or cochlear duct and the scala thmpani the lower chamber. The inner ear also contain a structure called the vestibular labyrinth, which assists your sense

of balance (Olsen, W, Ph. D, 2003).
The vestibular labyrinth is used by the brain to determine where the head is in poportion to gravity and if the head or body is turning. By doing so, this keeps objects in focus when the head is moving. Joint and muscle receptors also are important in maintaining balance. The brain receives, interprets, and processes the information from these systems that control our balance. In order for you brain to maintain a sense of balance, it must coordinate information from the eyes, musculoskeletal nerves and inner ear. The brain sends signals to the muscles all through the skeletal system on how to react and keep the body positioned upright and balanced. But if the central nervous system signals are not being processed and the messages are sending mixed messages, than the body can experience a loss of balance. Balance problems can occur from anywhere in this complex system that is made up of the eyes, musculoskeletal nerves and vestibular labyrinth. Head injury, disorders of blood circulation affecting the inner ear or brain, certain medications, and aging may change our balance system and result in a balance problem. Individuals who have illnesses, brain disorders, or injuries of the visual or skeletal systems, such as eye muscle imbalance and arthritis, may also experience balance difficulties. When balance is impaired, difficulty with maintaining orientation will set in. Some of the symptoms a person with a balance disorder may experience are a sensation of dizziness and/or vertigo (Wilipedia, 2006). The vertigo usually refers to the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in balance (equilibrium). It also may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, unsteadiness and is often used, incorrectly, to describe a fear of height. Vertigo should not be confused with dizziness. Dizziness is an unpleasant feeling of light-headedness, giddiness or fuzziness often accompanied by nausea. The sensation of movement is called subjective vertigo and the perception of movement in surrounding objects is called objective vertigo. Vertigo is one of the most common health problems in adults. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 40% of people in the United States experience feeling dizzy at least once during their lifetime. Prevalence is slightly higher in women and increases with age.

Vertigo, sometimes being called a headrush effects may be slight. symptom of an underlying harmless cause, such as in benign positional vertigo (BPPV) or it can suggest a more serious problem. These include drug toxicities, strokes or tumors (though these are much less common than BPPV). Benign positional vertigo is a condition caused by problems in the inner ear. Although its cause is not certain, it is most likely due to a build up ofcalcium in the semicircular canals of the inner ear (Housner, L, 1997). Vertigo is a symptom that can be associates with different diseases. It is classified into one of two categories depending on the location of the damaged vestibular pathway....
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