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Definition of Cochlea

Cochlea: The cochlea is the part of the inner ear that converts mechanical energy (vibrations) into nerve impulses sent to the brain. It is also known as the organ of hearing.

The cochlea is a small conical structure resembling a snail shell. The word "cochlea" is a Latin word derived from the Greek "kokhlos" designating the land snail.

A coiled tube, the cochlea winds two and three quarters turns about a central bony axis, forming the front (the anterior) part of the labyrinth (a maze within the inner ear). The cochlea contains the spiral organ (called the organ of Corti) which is the receptor for hearing.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9560
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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