Hair cells are the sensory receptors in the inner ear, and the hair bundles that protrude from their upper surfaces transduce mechanical stimuli into electrical responses. This article examines the key molecules involved in the different stages of sound processing within these extraordinarily sensitive and intricate cells, from the reception of the sound stimulus to the release of neurotransmitters on to the auditory nerve fibres that signal to the brain that a sound has been received.

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