The human ear is divided into three compartments: the external ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The inner ear contains the spiral shaped cochlea, where sound waves are transduced into neural signals, and the vestibular complex, which contains the receptors for our sense of equilibrium. The central, egg-shaped cavity is the vestibule, which contains a pair of membranous sacs, the saccule and the utricle. Inside the utricle and saccule are hair cells similar to those in the organ of Corti. The hair cells are clustered in the macula, where their processes are embedded in a gelatinous mass and lie under a thin layer of crystals, called otoconia. When the head tilts, gravity moves the crystal mass and distorts the stereocilia of the hair cells. This is how the saccule and utricle provide information about position, with respect to gravity.
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