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An air wave enters the ear canal and hits the eardrum, behind which the ossicles relay the vibration to the cochlea. The cochlea is a fluid-filled duct with the length of 30 millimeters, coiled like a snail, has tens of thousands of "hair cells" in it. Following the vibration, hair cells sway back and forth and generate swings of electric potentials, which in turn activate nearby auditory nerve fibers and switch on the circuit of the complex neural wiring through the brain. Now, this is a physiological account of hearing. How we recognize or understand them is a very different matter.