13. Organs of Special Senses – vii

Physiology of Ear

  • The pinna is like a funnel, which directs sound to the ear canal and unto the eardrum. 
  • The ear canal has wax in it that helps trap infections and particles from getting deeper into the more sensitive parts of the organ.
  • Sound waves traveling through the ear canal reach the eardrum and bounces off, setting the eardrum to vibrate too. 
  • This sets off more vibrations of the ossicles (the three small bones called Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup) inside of the middle ear. 
  • The ossicles are connected to the cochlea. 
  • The cochlea is a long chamber, shaped like a garden snail, filled with a liquid.
  • The chamber has a hair-like lining. 
  • As the vibrations travel through the liquid in the chamber, the tiny hairs are stimulated, picking up the vibration signals from the liquid and send them to a special part of the brain for interpretation. 
  • The entire process happens within millions of a second.

This sets off more vibrations of the ossicles (the three small bones called Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup)

sensation of taste

The gustatory system or sense of taste is the sensory system that is partially responsible for the perception of taste (flavor). Taste is the perception produced or stimulated when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds in the oral cavity, mostly on the tongue.

There are five universally accepted basic tastes that stimulate and are perceived by our taste buds: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami

The 5th taste, umami, is the Japanese word similar to savory or delicious.

Our sensation of taste starts with the smells or odors around us that stimulate nerves in a small area located high in the nose.

Olfactory sensation

The olfactory system, or sense of smell, is the sensory system used for smelling (olfaction). Olfaction is one of the special senses, that have directly associated specific organs. … The main olfactory system detects airborne substances, while the accessory system senses fluid-phase stimuli.

The Sense of Smell. Smell depends on sensory receptors that respond to airborne chemicals. In humans, these chemoreceptors are located in the olfactory epithelium — a patch of tissue about the size of a postage stamp located high in the nasal cavity.

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