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Basilar Membrane

The basilar membrane is present inside the cochlea of inner ear. It is so stiff and has structural element which separate two liquid which are filled with tubes that run all along the cochlea coil, scala media and scala tympani. Basilar membrane has a pseudo resonant structure.  It is similar to string of instrument. It varies in stiffness and width as well. The motion of basilar membrane is described as a travelling wave.

Function of basilar membrane:

The fluids of basilar membranes has two tubes namely endolymph and perilymph. The chemical, biological and electrical characteristics of basilar membrane are extremely different in both the tubes. Hence they are separated. Main function of the membrane called Reissner’s membrane present in between scala media and scala vestibule share the function of basilar membrane and increases the hearing aid of vertebrates. The basilar membrane is not permeable to perilymph. The secondary border shall occur in between endolymph and perilymph at reticular lamina.

Basilar membrane also serves as base for hearing sensory cells and Stereocilia of hair cells. The crucial role of basilar membrane is to transfer the brain sound waves. In spite of the function that basilar membrane performs, it is given a name basilar membrane and is found in almost all of the land vertebrates.  Because of its location, the basilar membrane has placed hair cells in such a position and is adjacent to endolymph and perilymph and behaves as precondition for functioning of hair cells.

The basilar membrane is well developed in most of the mammalian species when compared to bird species. The sound waves are dispersed at specific frequency in a spatial manner. The basilar membrane is tapered at one end and is stiffened at other end. The fluid waves have a frequency equal to maximum vibration at the cochlear coil of basal end.


  • What is basilar membrane?
  • What are functions of basilar membrane?
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