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Inner Ear The inner ear consists of the cochlea and three semicircular canals. The snail shaped cochlea is the part of the ear that transmits sound information to the brain. Vibrations of the middle ear set the fluid in the cochlea into motion. The fluids stimulate different areas along the basilar membrane and the membrane rubs against hair cells. Each ear contains thousands of hair cells. The hair cells are arranged by frequency (pitch) just like the keyboard of a piano. Nerves are attached to the bottom of these hair cells so when the hair cells move, electrical impulses are passed to specific parts of the auditory nerve. These electrical signals travel along the nerve to the brain. The brain then interprets these signals, and we perceive sound. It is at the brain where hearing actually occurs. The semicircular canals are also fluid filled. Each canal is set on a different plane in space. They help control our sense of balance.