Schematic diagram of the human ear. (a) The ear is composed of three major parts, the outer, middle and inner ear. Mutations in genes encoded by proteins functioning primarily in the cochlear of the inner ear are known to lead to sensorineural hearing loss. Mutations in these genes often are associated with balance defects because of their expression in the vestibule of the inner ear. (b) The scala media, scala tympani and scala vestibule are visible in a cross-section of the cochlear duct. TM, tympanic membrane. (c) The organ of Corti is contained within the cochlear duct, and includes sensory hair cells and supporting cells. (d) An outer hair cell showing the staircase pattern of the stereocilia bundle on its apical surface. Reproduced with permission from .
Brownstein et al. Genome Biology 2012 13:245 doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-5-245