The distance that these pressure waves travel, therefore, decreases as the sound frequency increases.

Sound waves transmitted through perilymph from the scala vestibuli to the scala tympani thus produce displacement of the vestibular membrane and the basilar membrane. Although the movement of the vestibular membrane does not directly contribute to hearing, displacement of the basilar membrane is central to pitch discrimination. Each sound frequency produces maximum vibrations at a different region of the basilar membrane. Sounds of higher frequency (pitch) cause maximum vibrations of the basilar membrane closer to the stapes, as illustrated in figure 10.20.

Chapter Ten

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